Xavier Marvaldi has guided many companies in their digital transition. He explains to us the conditions to be met for the process to be successful.
Can you tell us about your background?
I have been immersed in the digital world for almost 20 years. I started as a consultant at Accenture and then McKinsey & Company, implementing innovative projects and advising senior management on technology-related business issues. Then I spent 6 years in television, at Canal+ and then M6. For these channels, I respectively created and managed the digital subsidiaries (Canal+Active and M6 Web), with an abundance of innovations, launch of offers, services, portals...
I then created a startup, Yoowalk, which proposed a virtual world accessible in one click from any browser. The project lasted 5 years, then I went back to the big groups to participate in the digital transition of companies. First at Euro Media, where I was general manager for two years, then at the L'Oréal group, where I was director of digital innovation, with a dual responsibility: awakening the organisation to the challenges of digital, and connecting L'Oréal to the startup ecosystem in order to encourage the emergence of innovative services. Finally, for the past few months, I have been working on other more entrepreneurial projects.
What are the prerequisites for a successful digital transition?
Stage "zero" is an awareness on the part of top management. The transformation must be driven, pushed, by the decision-makers, like all major operational transformations in companies.
Then, when you start the digital transition, you have to respect an acculturation stage. Digital is an area that no one learned at school, because the latest developments are less than two years old! It is an area where knowledge is not equally shared in companies. And it is erratic. Just because you are a junior doesn't mean you know more than a senior. And just because you're a user doesn't mean you're more relevant, from a business point of view, than someone who isn't a user. It's not because you're in an IT function that you're more capable than someone in a financial function... In short, it all depends on thepersonal history of each person, on how far back we stand in relation to the times we live in.
The first step is therefore to get the whole organisation through the same programmes, the same learning content, so that everyone arrives at the same level of knowledge. As long as we don't speak the same language, we don't understand each other!
Secondly, the success of the digital transition depends on the collaborative aspect. The idea is to teach all the skills and professions of a company to work together. What is at stake? Putting the consumer or customer back at the centre of all attention.
The third step in a digital transformation is to succeed in triggering innovation. Everything is being reinvented. Innovation must start from the company and open up. This is done in particular through start-ups or through smart partnering. This is what we did at M6, for example, by launching the M6 Mobile by Orange offer with Orange.
These three main stages (acculturation, collaboration, innovation) are essential regardless of the size of the company, its sector of activity, its level of knowledge of digital practices or its current challenges.
The digital transition is also embodied in tools: how can we ensure that employees use them?
The tools must be attractive and intuitive. They must not lack ergonomics or user-friendliness. Their use must be initiated - by content, by actions, by commitments, by seeds that are planted in the organisation to encourage collaboration. For example, a call for projects could be launched with a reward for those who come up with the best ideas. In short, you have to know how to attract people and excite their creativity, by appealing to positive values.
Furthermore, these tools must be used by top management or the board. This naturally involves the whole company. If a boss says, for example, that he will no longer present his greetings in the cafeteria, with only the employees present, but rather in the collaborative tools so that everyone can attend, ask questions or collaborate, then he creates a positive dynamic.
Furthermore, tools should be chosen with the employees' usage habits in mind. The closer the tools are to them, the more natural they will be to use. This implies a faster appropriation.
What do you think will be the next big trend in digital transition?
I think that we must move towards apermanent, industrialised and natural innovation process in companies. The companies that succeed will be those that are capable of constantly adapting to the challenges they face. To be continued!