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One of the hot topics in our industry of 2021 – and it is sure to be as critical in 2022 and beyond – is Digital Transformation.

It is our view that our industry has not yet fully understood what this term actually means or what impact it could have on our industry and individual organisations within it. PTI are seeing more and more sports organisations come to realise that they cannot continue to re-iterate their existing commercial model and still expect to see a massive uplift in commercial return. There is a need to rethink the approach in its entirety and reimagine the art of the possible.

We fully understand that there is a degree of scepticism around the concept of Digital Transformation and also that the idea of wholesale change can be daunting so we have tried to make it more accessible with a myth-busting list of things we think you need to know:

  1. “Digital” is a means to an end, not an end itself. This is not about becoming a “digital business” for its own sake, this is about fully understanding and harnessing digital technology to drive long-term institutional value for all your key stakeholders.
  2. It connects your vision to your short, medium and long-term objectives. It demonstrates how decisions made in one part of the business influence other parts. It becomes a framework for decision making, providing clear insight as to what the next best actions are, building confidence in that decision making process, avoids inertia and helps the business move forward.
  3. “Digital” on its own is not a silver bullet: sports organisations are often siloed, colleagues don’t always speak and there isn’t always a clear, documented plan for how the business is planning to move forward. Getting the right technology in place is critical but it won’t solve underlying cultural challenges on its own.
  4. Digital Transformation needs to sit ultimately with the CEO but it needs buy-in across the entire senior management team. This is not something that can be run from within a silo, it needs a top-down approach and whole-business buy-in to succeed fully. The CEO – or even the SMT more broadly – need not be a technologist, marketer or digital expert but s/he needs to understand what possibilities the digital age can afford and to lay out a vision for achieving that.
  5. It is not an overnight process. Most of the roadmaps we create for our clients run over a 3-5 year period. Plans need to dovetail with financial cycles and contractual obligations, match an organisation’s risk profile and they need time to test and learn. Referring back to point 3, it also requires internal cultural change to ensure staff understand it and buy into it and are therefore able to execute it. This all takes time.
  6. Most organisations will want to approach this in bite-sized chunks with minimal risk. Quick wins are vital in proving the approach, building internal momentum and belief and helping to cashflow the next phase.
  7. It is not about ideology or dogmatism. Without a pragmatic approach, the process will fail. Whilst an ideal-state roadmap needs to be the starting point, life doesn’t tend to work quite so easily and so the roadmap has to flex around the obstacles in the way.
  8. It is not a destination but a journey. As technology changes, as customer behaviour changes and your business changes, your roadmap must be flexible enough both to adapt to that change and to be able to capitalise upon the opportunities that change presents. But without starting on that journey, nothing changes.
  9. There is no template for this process: every business will have its own challenges, opportunities and set of circumstances but by setting out to understand what Digital Transformation actually means and could mean for your business, you are already ahead of 90% of the industry.
  10. Digital transformation is not some new fangled idea. What we are talking about is good old fashioned change management, powered by the efficiencies that data can provide and the means to engage, learn about and monetise your customer base through digital technology. This enables a shift from a 20-30 day a year yield management model to one which generates higher-margin revenue all year round.

Key to realising all of this is having an understanding of data and digital technology and how that supports a broader strategic vision. PTI are specialists in digital transformation and are currently working with a number of sports organisations – big and small –  in understanding their visions and designing their roadmaps and helping them to bring them to life.

Our approach is holistic, looking at the business in its entirety and comes with a fully-costed P&L that both supports investment decisions but provides confidence in revenue forecasting in the short, medium and long terms.

We would love to hear from you if you are considering starting on your Digital Transformation journey.

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