The digital approach to business
Written by Christian Berg , CFO and Head of Technology Advisory Board
Digital technologies have had a dramatic impact on our lives thanks to the evolution of the internet, smartphones and social media. The same opportunities and challenges also now signal a new era for business and Wilhelmsen is meeting this head on with its new Digital Solutions Team.
“We are seeing a lot of innovative large and small digital initiatives happening all around the group,” says Christian Berg, CFO and head of the Technology Advisory Group at Wilhelmsen. “Our intention is not to take them under group ownership, but to gain a better understanding of what is happening inside the group and support people working with these projects.”
The Digital Solutions Team will help Wilhelmsen’s different divisions in developing their digital business opportunities while also looking for new initiatives that could benefit the whole group. It will also be responsible for boosting digital competence and sharing good ideas across the organisation.
“The team will provide expert advice for digital projects and act as a sparring partner with them, explains Jon Nordgard, Strategy Manager at Wilhelmsen. “There are also many projects that don’t really belong to any specific business unit and previously these could fade away even if they were interesting from a group perspective. Now these projects can belong to the Digital Solutions Team.”
While the Digital Solutions Team acts as its own independent unit, it is not working alone. The team reports to Wilhelmsen’s global management group and is guided by the Technology Advisory Group, which has been a driving force in forming the new unit.
The advisory group has a representative from each of Wilhemsen’s business branches to make sure everyone’s voice is heard. At the moment Wilhelmsen is looking for a team leader with proven skills in the digital world and deep understanding of digital business models. That person will be in charge of building the rest of the team over the next few months.
The first task for the digital team is to closely integrate with Wilhelmsen’s business units and understand their operating models, needs and goals. But the team must also be ready to work with each unit to question the existing structures and disrupt old processes. “We have to ask if our current business streams are the ones we will need tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, or if we should find new models which work better for our customers,” explains Berg.
Berg believes the Digital Solutions Team will motivate transparent innovation across the group and become a place where people can share and advance their ideas with similarly minded people. It is all part of creating a corporate environment well prepared for the digital age.
“The world is changing fast and many industries are being disrupted by digital technologies. It is only a matter of time before it transforms us and we need to be ready for that,” Berg concludes.