Key takeaways from the first PROGRESS event

Author Dorian Derežić
Category Company
Date Oct 15, 2019
6 min read

PROGRESS brought together a number of experts and leaders from various companies and industries who shared their experiences with using digital products, apps and software to upgrade their businesses.

In today’s day and age, digital products such as custom software, enterprise tools, mobile applications and websites are rapidly becoming a crucial element that makes businesses more flexible, efficient, profitable or just overall better. Relying on traditional processes and ways of doing things is no longer a viable option if you want your business to achieve that coveted 10x growth.

Growing businesses by leveraging advanced digital solutions

With that in mind, we organized the first PROGRESS meetup – we wanted to bring together industry experts and leaders from a variety of different companies to share their knowledge, experiences and insights they gained by using advanced digital solutions to upgrade their businesses.

The event itself attracted more than 40 people who were very interested to learn how experts from companies like British American Tobacco, Camping Village Šimuni, KING ICT, Ulix Travel and many others used digital solutions to streamline their day to day operations, enhanced business processes and made their companies much more competitive on the market.

Digital transforming performance and culture in a traditional industry

The first part of the event revolved around the keynote presentation by John Brady, Marketing Director of British American Tobacco Adria, in which he explained how BAT tackled the process of implementing digital solutions into their business. For them, everything started with a Digital Academy – a series of educations about the digital landscape, technologies, platforms and opportunities that lie within that digital ecosystem.

“One of the big problems of traditional FMCGs is that you have very talented people, but if you’re not careful, you could see the world pass them by in terms of digital technologies and skills.” – John Brady / British American Tobacco

Those educations were the first step of their digital journey as they enabled members of BAT Adria to organize and start a large variety of digital activities in-house. By getting knowledge from industry experts and creating a setup for digital activities in-house, they could more easily spread digital through the entire corporation – it started small, through social media and creating content, but it quickly led to leveraging the power of more advanced digital solutions, like mobile applications.

“When we had the basics in place, our people started becoming more comfortable with digital. And it allowed us to look at problems and solutions very differently, a little bit more creative.” – John Brady / British American Tobacco

By getting involved with digital and taking on more complex digital projects, members of BAT Adria were able to quickly identify new areas of their business that could benefit from digital solutions. Internal communication was one of those areas – with a lot of employees spread across different markets, communication started getting more and more complex. Using traditional means of communication proved ineffective, so BAT decided to upgrade the way they communicate internally with a mobile application – BEYOND.

That was the first step that soon led to a creation of a series of mobile applications, with one set of helping them to organize their internal processes and make the entire corporation more efficient, and the other ensuring that BAT and their products are more competitive on the market.

“This has been highly successful for us – allowing us to expand, giving more value to our customers and bringing something new that our competition wasn’t able to do.” – John Brady / British American Tobacco

Using digital products to improve business results of large companies

In the second part of the PROGRESS event, we switched to a panel discussion during which Mia Pavelić (Executive Director of Camping Village Šimuni), Davor Banović (Test Lead at KING ICT), Anđelko Ćalušić (Founder of Ulix Travel) and Tomislav Grubišić (CEO of Bornfight) talked about the ways how different types of digital solutions can be used to achieve growth in different industries.

As members of large companies that constantly use digital solutions and rely on them to reach their goals and expand their businesses, our panelists discussed how can digital lead to a 10x growth, as well as about the growing importance of digital in the field of business.

“In our business, transformation was about creating a new mindset. Bornfight worked with us and pushed us to detect problems and to really see them as problems. And then to implement changes that would solve them. When you approach transformation in that way, you stop labeling it as transformation, but as a logical next step. ” – Mia Pavelić / Camping Village Šimuni

As the panelists started digging deeper into the topic of digital transformation, Davor Banović pinpointed one of the key elements that prevent companies from implementing digital solutions into their businesses – having a set of people who keep using traditional solutions alongside digital ones.

“Digital transformation is a process that takes time. But actually getting people to let go of old ways of doing things is the real challenge. There are still government offices that require you to go there and bring physical contracts, even though you used their official online form and sent them the exact same contract. But one is digital, and the other is not – and that’s the problem.” – Davor Banović / KING ICT

Anđelko Ćalušić quickly built on that with his example. He mentioned that digital transformation starts by teaching people the simplest of activities, like showing people how to manage data through an Excel sheet. Even though it might seem to us that using Excel isn’t particularly digital as a majority of us have used it for quite some time, in a lot of traditional companies, Excel is a novelty – and it can be used as a first step to digitalization.

“I believe every one of us has a responsibility to start digitizing people around us and helping them to understand the benefits. Starting from something as simple as Google Docs, and then slowly upgrading them to more advanced systems. All of us who have more knowledge have that responsibility to be the enablers of digital transformation.” – Anđelko Ćalušić / Ulix Travel

Camping Village Šimuni’s Mia Pavelić then added to Anđelko’s statement by mentioning that a key element of digital transformation was the willingness of the company board and management to go through with it. As Camping Village Šimuni is currently going through that process, she sees how the mindset of the management team impacts the overall implementation of digital into businesses. When the management is amped about embracing digital solutions, employees who usually know a lot more about it become exponentially more motivated to push it through as it directly simplifies and streamlines their work.

“Anyone can say that something is difficult. But you need to be willing to implement changes and then invest your time to learn how to get the most benefits out of them.” – Mia Pavelić / Camping Village Šimuni

To close the discussion, Tomislav Grubišić touched upon the next logical step in digital transformation and what he believes will be one of the main ways that businesses will be able to achieve 10x growth – using digital to transform company services or processes into products, tools, software or apps that can be sold to other companies.

“It doesn’t even have to be the entire process or an entire service. You can actually take a small part of the process or service that is specific enough to make a difference for the company it’s used in – you then digitize it and turn it into a product that can be used by all similar companies or companies within the same industry.” – Tomislav Grubišić / Bornfight

Tomislav continued to explain how scaling a business can be extremely difficult and expensive, sometimes even impossible. Imagine a factory that has a limited space to expand, when it reaches that limit, the goal of achieving 10x growth quickly becomes unachievable. Turning the service or a process or even just a part of it into a digital product, an app or software that can be sold to others can help scale the business beyond those limitations.

“The key is just to find that single element – that core part that can be turned in a crucial element of someone else’s business.” – Tomislav Grubišić / Bornfight
And that has been all for the first edition of the PROGRESS event where we explored the ways digital solutions can be used to help businesses increase profits, decrease costs or minimize risks. If you have any questions about it or would like to be a part of the next one, feel free to contact us!

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