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Five Key Digital Challenges We’re Focused on Addressing in New Zealand

Let’s sort this out!

It’s been 6 months since we launched Future State Consulting and we've been incredibly fortunate to have already worked with some brilliant New Zealand businesses trail blazing in the global digital economy.

However, as we draw breath after our launch phase it's also become clear that the foundations for success for many businesses have simply not been put in place and they are floundering in the (at best) opaque waters of slick tech sales people and global agency business models.

We’ve been busy helping our clients navigate these issues to provide the clarity and confidence alongside a clear pathway forward to execute effectively in digital.

So, here are 5 of the key challenges that need immediately solving here in NZ and that we’re looking to help address:

1) If you don’t know where you’re going any road will take you there

Short termism is one of the major challenges for all governments, organisations and businesses with almost everyone from CEO’s down being incentivised by immediate performance. This has impacted the ability for many businesses to lift their head up from tactical opportunities to create a medium term roadmap to profitable growth for their digital offerings.

There’s a temptation to be seen to be ‘up with the play’ and jump on the latest technology platform being offered by a slick tech sales person who promises the earth without clarity on tangible business outcomes or clear performance measures put in place.

Taking the time to look past the ‘shiny’ and think beyond this quarter, half or financial year in the digital space is essential for every organisation and something we should apply the same rigour to as we do to other areas of our businesses.

FSC Solution: We work with our partners to develop a clear road-map for digital platforms, processes, people and partners that deliver business results.

2) Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair

This one will be no surprise but whilst we all know that transparency is an issue too many businesses still are still taking an Ostrich approach to the problem.

For many media buys in the programmatic space as little as 20% of the spend is actually landing with media owners, whilst the remaining 80% is eaten up by technology platform, data and agency fees. Consequently the channel has to perform 5 times more efficiently than alternative media just to reach a parity position, the industry is quite literally strangling its own future potential.

This is all exemplified by the fact that the Future State ‘Digital Maturity Index’ (our unique online tool that assesses the status of a business’s digital readiness) sees an average 3 out of 10 score for a business’s ‘trust’ in their technology and agency partners.

To compound the issue, digital divisions of agencies are often being used as the cash cows for the agency groups to help prop up no longer profitable ‘traditional’ models where value has over time been eroded or given away to clients.

FSC Solution: We provide certainty that technology, data and agency relationships are fully transparent and provide genuine value businesses.

3) Talent trumps technology

We all know that attracting and retaining talent is a huge challenge in any industry and is amplified further within the NZ digital market.

We see the excitement of working in London, Sydney or the US, the potential of fast career progression and inflated salary expectations taking talent out of New Zealand and finding it hard to attract back. I know of two exceptional Kiwis who work at Snap Chat in the US alone not to mention all of those at Facebook, Google and within the global agency networks. Hopefully one day they will return back to New Zealand and bring this experience with them.

The result is in those with relatively small level of digital experience being in high demand, with equally high salary expectations and sometimes lacking the practical business experience to execute effectively.

As an industry we need to focus on growing, developing and retaining digital talent for the medium term, bring in market leaders from overseas (it’s great to see Spark employing Matt Bain from AKQA who will bring back a wealth of digital experience with him) and incentivise those here to stay in New Zealand.

FSC Solution: At Future State we’ve developed our own business model providing business ownership opportunities to attract digital leaders to New Zealand. In addition, we are already running digital training programs for our clients and have partnered to identify exceptional talent overseas with the aim of bringing them to New Zealand. We are helping our clients identify and access talent …. there is more to come on this shortly!

4) Data is the ‘new oil’ isn’t it?

Up until recently, data was perceived as a by-product of business activity and had little to no value after the process was completed.

Today the value of data is accepted, however, there remain questions around how best to activate it. Data can contribute to improved audience insight, targeting, reporting and analytics (amongst others).

There is little doubt that data will play a core role in every industry in the future but a key question is how it can both impact and provide opportunities for businesses. There will be many opinions in every business both exaggerating and underestimating the opportunity.

We are seeing too many businesses buying access to DMP’s, CDP’s and marketing automation stacks amongst others without clarity on what data they have access to, organising this data and having access to the right people to help realise the data opportunity.

FSC Solution: Future State have developed a bespoke process that enables businesses to clearly define their data opportunity. From there we help our clients understand what data they have, what they need, how to organise it, governance policy plus the technology and resource required for effective activation.

5) Global versus Local - No. 8 wire won’t sort this one

New Zealand is an amazingly innovative market with a history a finding brilliant solutions to challenges driven in the most part by our physical separation as an economy from the rest of the world.

Traditionally, we haven’t been able to access the same resources as other markets but the wonderful opportunity of a digital world is that we are no longer separated from the global economy. However, how do we maintain a culture of innovation when our burning platform is rather helpfully taken away?

We need to ensure our local market has access to, understanding of and ability to execute with the technology that will enable our businesses to grow customers internationally rather than have global players eat our lunch here; we have simply moved from one innovation challenge to another.

FSC Solution: Future State have developed a business model and are proactively bringing the best global advertising marketing technology to New Zealand. We are doing this under a cost and service model that works for all New Zealand businesses no matter how large or small and ensuring collective benefit. Get in touch with us to discuss the opportunities with us here.

In summary, the main challenges that we see here in New Zealand are all surmountable and the opportunities for business efficiency and effectiveness are greater than ever before.

To realise this potential, we all need to lift our heads up from day to day jobs, take a long term strategic view of our digital businesses and proactively start moving forwards.

The future is bright if we choose to go and get it!