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Strathclyde Business School

Get ready for Digital Transformation...

By Matthew Alexander - Posted on 29 October 2020

Digital is changing fast – and no more so than at the moment with Covid-19's impact on the business world. Here, Matthew Alexander discusses some of the issues surrounding digital working and how a new SBS Institute has been set up in response.

The world is in upheaval thanks to the spread of coronavirus – or Covid-19 - around the globe. Even before coronavirus began to have a stranglehold on health and business, business was transitioning towards digital engagement with customers but social distancing in many countries around the world has meant digital has been thrust on some businesses with no clear plan or direction, while others who already used it have had to up their game significantly to cope with the added demand.

One thing is certain – the business world will look very different whenever coronavirus eventually takes a back seat. Business won’t be able to return to the way it worked before – the number of people using digital technology to shop, stay in touch, learn or engage with business, will continue to rise and they will expect a high quality and smooth experience. This goes beyond the selling of goods to the ways that organisations engage customers and keep them faithful to the brand or company.

In 2019 worldwide spending on technologies and services that enable the digital transformation of business practises, products and organisations was $1.2 trillion and forecast to reach $2.3 trillion in 2023. UK spending on digital and technology consulting in 2019 was £3 billion N(Consultancy.org)

Whilst the investment in digitisation is seismic – even before Covid – only 13% of leaders believe their organisation is ready to compete digitally while less than 10% of leaders strongly agree that their organisations have leaders with the right skills to thrive in the digital economy (Sloan Management Review 2020). For example, the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in our digital marketing place is likely to have wide ranging effects. Some research predicts that AI with increasingly take on more of the mechanical and analytical work in the market place leaving intuitive and empathetic skills in greater demand from human workers, this suggests a need to not just retrain employees but reorient education and training at all levels.

Technology is also creating new sales models and functions and creating demand for new ways of working. Lines between service and sales are blurring and are more integrated in the operating model than ever before. Digital teams are no longer ‘back office’ staff but are an integral part of any business and key to leveraging profits. This suggests a broader digital orientation for organisations.

Strathclyde Business School feels now more than ever is the right time to launch our Institute of Digital Transformation. The vision for our Institute is to become the UK’s foremost centre of excellence for research and practitioner development for digitisation of customer facing organisations.

Over time the Institute will build five key products: research, executive education, postgraduate, partnering, and consulting/cluster support.

Our DBA is a key component of our offering. It will develop fast, rigorous and independent thinking that will transform individuals and their organisations. Our DBA will extend beyond Business School research to incorporate cutting edge thinking from computer scientists, psychologists, engineers and ethics specialists as well as marketing, HR and sales experts. An interdisciplinary mindset means it can develop multi-disciplinary thinking for digital business issues such as dealing with significant or sudden change, ensuring business stays relevant to the changing business world, and building new forms of customer relationships.

Our DBA participants will have access to a pool of leading academics from across the university, not least the business school which is a triple accredited and ranked highly for its research and impact. Each individual will be part of a 10 to 15-strong cohort working in parallel for four years, supervised and supported by a pool of leading academics from a wide range of disciplines. Those embarking on the DBA can be assured their studies will focus on practical business problems and thus make a valuable contribution to practise, transforming themselves and their organisation in the process, as well as being part of a select community of like-minded business people researching similar issues.

We know DBA students tend to hold roles that require a lot of commitment so our DBA programme provides a flexible framework to ensure students remain on track with their research and studies but are able to continue to attend to important work issues in their normal manner as well as maintaining a good work-life balance.

Interested? We’d love to discuss your interest in our DBA programme with you in more depth – please just get in touch by emailing exec.education@strath.ac.uk 

Contact details

 Undergraduate admissions
 +44 (0)141 548 4114

 Postgraduate admissions
 +44(0)141 553 6118 / 6119


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University of Strathclyde
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