Key Insights from the Telegraph Digital Leaders Conference #TelegraphDL | Transmute


01 November 2015

Key Insights from the Telegraph Digital Leaders Conference #TelegraphDL

Tiffany St James (Co-Founder of Transmute) had the great pleasure of being Chair and Moderator at The Telegraph’s Digital Leaders Conference on Wednesday 24th June.

We have all been to events looking at creative technology and future scoping, but this event was the first of its kind tackling thorny Digital Transformation issues from people who have implemented those changes in large or global businesses and have the good stories and advice to share.

With delegates from multiple industries at CIO, COO, CFO level, the hot debates of the day were: Big Data and the Industrial Internet, Restructuring the corporate model to develop a responsive business culture, exploiting new channels, Customer Insight and Social Listening, as well as case studies from Sky and Lloyds Banking Group.

Here’s our key insights from the Telegraph Digital Leaders event:

Allister Heath (Deputy Editor, Telegraph Media Group): There is growing acceptance that while technology is key, it is successful implementation of the technology and transforming the business culture that unlocks the real value. Corporations need to consider how dynamically how they respond to a diverse market with differing needs. Consumer don’t want choice – they want what they want and organisations focussing on customer experience will reap rewards.


Allister Heath


Mark Elborne (Chief Executive Officer, GE, UK & Ireland): Big data has been the focus of many an organisation, what’s essential is connecting the people who have the ability to understand and use the data to affect business outcomes.


Mark Elborne

Read the full write up Mark Elborne’s keynote

 Leading organisations through digital transformation

Malcolm Coles (Director of Digital Media, Telegraph Media Group) Moderator.

Narry Singh (Managing Director, Head of Digital Strategy EALA, Accenture)
How you measure risk in a business should be akin to a portfolio fund manager – spreading risk and managing investment decisions on performance. Whilst many business ventures are consumed with ROI it’s critical to ensure the distribution and engagement is in place before monetisation. Having a CDO, even as an artificial catalyst is fine, but if you still have one in 5 years time you seriously need to look at what you are doing.

Kai Gait (Global Digital Director, GSK)
Organisations move much slower than ambition for change and it’s critical to up-skill or bring in capabilities as a catalyst against the “treacle” of slow internal movement when necessary.


(l-r) Malcom Coles, Narry Singh, Kai Gait


Marc Lien (Director of Innovation and Digital Development, LLoyds Banking Group)
Live testing is key. Release to small groups, test, innovate and scale. Digitise the channel, then the bank and then the organisational and operational development.


Marc Lien


Andrew Griffiths (Group Chief Financial Officer and Managing Director Commercial Business, Sky)
Audience demand for device-agnostic quality, linear and non-linear content has led to an explosion in Sky’s products and services. Navigating successfully the innovation workflow is a key challenge and again its success resides on spreading risk, sharp business analytics, starting small, innovating, testing and scaling.


Andrew Griffiths

Restructuring the corporate model to develop a responsive business culture

It was interesting to hear from three different senior roles and businesses to inform best practice in how to re-engineer business culture.

Tiffany St James (Co-Founder of Transmute) Moderator & Conference Chair

Jan Gooze-Zijl (Chief Financial and Operations Officer, UKTV) Allocated quarterly desk rotation and location amongst mixed disciplines ensures great cross-team cultural understanding. Entire company face-to-face meetings with employees working business objectives through in teams ensures business focus and buy-in. Employing pre-mortems, visioning future errors and working them back through have paid dividends.

Stephen Kneebone (Chief Information Officer, Nissan Europe): The kaizen approach has been used throughout the entire business and technology enables the smart integration of traditional good practices in a sophisticated way. Focus on considering the customer experience outside-in rather than from an organisation perspective.

Simon Miles (Digital Director, Coca-Cola Enterprises) Focus on the people not technology. Engender processes that allow feedback from all of your customers, consumers and end users. In fmcg, make the most of geo-location.



(l-r) Tiffany St James, Jan Gooze-Jijl, Stephen Kneebone, Simon Miles


Understanding and Exploiting the potential of new communication channels


Ben Carter (Global Marketing Director, Moderator.

Luke Vinogradov (Vice President Digital, Europe, McDonald’s): Word clouds about burgers and fries are not it! Strive to provide more meaningful data and metrics.

David Tomchak (Head of Digital, 10 Downing Street): It’s all about engagement. We have to use social media to create centralised voice to offer transparency.

Stephen O’Kelly (Marketing Director, Guinness):Measure, Measure, Measure.

Simon Morris (Director of Marketing EMEA, Adobe): Data scientists need to  be storytellers.



(l-r) Ben Carter (, Luke Vinogradov, David Tomchak, Stephen O’Kelly, Simon

Customer Insight: Listening as a cornerstone to innovation in a digital world

Simon Thresh (Senior Manager, Digital Strategy, SABMiller) Moderator.

Heather Smith (UK Marketing Director, Aviva)
Social Listening is not just for PR, you can do much more with it. Use it to drive content creation, that really understands your audience, and fixes wider business issues.

James McClure (General Manager UK & Ireland, Airbnb) – Social listening is essential to understand customer needs. We use it to find places customers wish to stay.

Tony Grout (Head of Agile Transformation, Lloyds Banking Group) – Be authentic and transparent. Your customer satisfaction sits with your development team. Should you outsource your social listening? Would I outsource my marriage? It is an intimate customer relationship.


(l-r) Simon Thresh (SABMiller), Heather Smith, James McClure, Tony Grout

Find these photos, and plenty more on the Telegraph Digital Leaders event on Flickr.