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Reflections on Digital Transformation: Insights from Amsterdam TechEx Europe Conference (Sept 2023)

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Stefan Jenart

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Digital Transformation Week Conference in Amsterdam was an eye-opening experience for me. It was fascinating to see how various IT organisations and software vendors approached digital transformation.


Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation Week Conference in Amsterdam was an eye-opening experience for me. It was fascinating to see how various IT organisations and software vendors approached digital transformation. What struck me most was the prevalent claim that changing just one aspect within an organisation could constitute digital transformation. Fortunately, not everyone shared this viewpoint, and the conference shed light on the multifaceted nature of this crucial process. It was also impossible to ignore that everyone seemed to be talking about artificial intelligence (AI), which highlighted the dominant role this technology plays in modern business.

The Human Touch in Digital Transformation

One panel discussion on the second day of the conference stood out and brought a refreshing perspective to digital transformation. The topic was "How can CX be successfully renewed by digital transformation?" The panel's collective wisdom underscored the importance of bringing the human aspect and value into digital transformation efforts. They emphasised that, despite the name, digital transformation is not merely about technology or the business side of things. It must start with your customers and ideally happen in collaboration with them.

This might sound like common sense, but in reality, it's often overlooked. The allure of technology can sometimes overshadow the need to consider the end-users of that technology – the customers. This insight resonated with me, highlighting the need to place human experiences at the core of digital transformations.

Knowledge Documentation and Team Building

One of the essential takeaways from the conference was the importance of knowledge sharing and documentation. It was emphasised that keeping insights in your head creates knowledge silos, and this can be detrimental to an organisation's digital transformation journey. Documenting everything may seem like a formidable task, but it's essential for ensuring that knowledge is accessible and shared across the organisation.

This struck a chord with me, as I've often encountered situations where critical knowledge resided with a single individual. Ensuring that knowledge is documented and accessible to the entire team is a simple yet often overlooked step in digital transformation.

Heineken's Innovative Approach

The presentation on Heineken's approach to "Unleashing Hyper Automation with Low-Code and AI at a Global Scale" was particularly captivating. They highlighted the significance of improving business processes using consumer insights to automate operations. What stood out was the IT team's central role and their ability to resist the temptation of developing custom solutions.

This approach intrigued me because it illustrated how innovation and transformation can emanate from within the IT department and impact the entire organisation. The three-pillar approach of opportunity and value management, technology and platform evolutions, and people growth and upskilling resonated with me as a holistic framework for driving digital transformation.

The World of Data Monetization

While not a central theme, the concept of data monetization was briefly mentioned, with Snowflake being a notable example. Their marketplace for buying and selling datasets exemplified the evolving value of data in the digital age. This raised questions about the untapped potential of data in the digital transformation landscape.

As a reflection, it made me consider the vast opportunities that organisations might be missing by not exploring data monetization in their digital transformation endeavours.

Digital Transformation Essence

The session on "Ensuring a Secure and Streamlined Digital Transformation" reiterated a fundamental point that resonated with me. It emphasised that digital transformation goes beyond technology, processes, and organisational structure. Instead, it's about crafting a superior customer experience and creating digital-first value propositions, business models, and operating models.

This principle reinforced my belief that successful digital transformation is not a matter of simply implementing the latest technologies but fundamentally altering how an organisation delivers value to its customers.

Agile Transformation at Coca-Cola HBC

Coca-Cola HBC's journey toward Agile transformation was inspiring. They transitioned from being primarily an IT department providing services to becoming an enabler for the organisation. This case study underscored the value of adopting an Agile approach and moving from project-oriented to product-oriented work.

As a personal reflection, it made me think about how the traditional IT department's role is evolving, and how embracing Agile principles can lead to more aligned and value-driven outcomes.

The New World of Infrastructure

The discussion on the journey to the new world of infrastructure focused on the pivotal role of cloud computing. They looked at the infrastructure side of AI and basically (this is me paraphrasing) compared it to simply adding applications to your cloud services. Full transparency and documenting our process: this is something we need to take a look at within the Lemon offering.

Stop building products, start building companies

From the presentation Netflix Technology Services’ Evolution - From a Support Organisation to a Learning Engine I took something that we might use in our sales approach. A lot of our prospects ask us to create a product they have in mind. We, as Lemon, might want to look at your business user experience and your organisation (productivity and reliability) instead. And afterwards obviously build you a product. 


The Amsterdam conference on digital transformation left me with several personal reflections. It emphasised the human-centric nature of digital transformation, the significance of knowledge sharing and documentation, the potential of data monetization, and the importance of a superior customer experience.

It also highlighted how organisations can evolve from traditional IT roles to becoming enablers and the importance of adapting infrastructure for the cloud era. As we continue our digital transformation journeys, these insights serve as valuable reminders to keep the human touch in our endeavours and to embrace the ever-evolving digital landscape.

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