On Wednesday 18th October, we hosted our very first Digital Solutions Summit at Newmarket Racecourse. We were treated to a welcome from Iain O’Kane, Xperience CEO, who gave us an overview of the day and a quick rundown of the agenda. Alongside our two incredible and knowledgeable Keynote Speakers (more detail on them later) we had multiple breakout sessions on two educational tracts: Growth Accelerated and Technology Simplified. These sessions were hosted by Xperience experts on subjects as diverse as ‘5 Key IT Trends’, ‘AI inside your ERP systems’ and ‘Power BI and Data Analytics’. Now onto our Keynote speeches delivered by Guus Krabbenborg and Mark Byrne.
Our first Keynote was delivered by Guus Krabbenborg. Guus is a highly experienced business trainer, consultant and presenter with a well-earned reputation in the international Microsoft Dynamics arena. For his talk, Guus delved into the world of digital transformation.
He emphasised that becoming a customer centric business is one of the key elements of a thriving transformation. It’s not just about embracing the latest technologies; it’s about transforming your entire organisation, including its culture and mindset. Guus encouraged us to view our customers as VIPs, much like we’d treat our employees. He highlighted that the digital age has changed how customers behave, this new generation values and expects a personalised experience and demands attention, everything is about “me.” The two most important words that represent the core of the modern customer experience are “Me” and “Now.” Customers want personalised, immediate, and responsive interactions from the businesses they engage with.
To ensure success, companies must understand their customers’ evolving expectations, adapt to their needs, and treat everyone like a VIP. Focusing on these key factors, can unlock the full potential of your digital transformation journey. As Guus’s presentation continued, he emphasised the importance of taking action to meet customers’ needs promptly. He highlighted the example of a construction company. When a customer says, “I want a new house now,” it typically involves a lengthy process of designing, planning, and construction, taking up to 12 months. The challenge is to streamline this process, reducing it to nine or even eight months, thereby improving customer satisfaction.
Guus then pointed out that in the boardroom, many companies overestimate their customer service. Four out of five MBAs believed that their company provided superior customer experiences. But the reality, as indicated by customer surveys, showed that only 8% of customers agreed.
In his concluding remarks Guus urged businesses to transform their culture, mindset, and processes to prioritise customers and add value. This involves moving beyond offering generic products and services by creating unique experiences. He reiterated the importance of starting with a transformation initiative based on customer needs rather than as an IT project. He encouraged organisations to clarify why they need to change and ensure that everyone in the company understands this purpose.
He provided five key success factors for digital transformation:
Our second Digital Solutions Summit Keynote Speaker was Mark Byrne, Cyber Security Engineer at Sophos. He discussed the many ways Artificial Intelligence (AI) is used in the realm of cyber security. He began by highlighting AI’s involvement in safeguarding digital landscapes. Then, he explained the essential parts of machine learning and deep learning; highlighting how they help detect and protect against threats.
Mark delivered a concise historical overview, tracking AI’s origins to the 1940s while highlighting its recent revival. He demonstrated how AI is now widespread in our daily lives, playing crucial roles in navigation, content creation, and various other areas. The speech then transitioned into a discussion of contemporary cyber threats, focusing on the emergence of “Ransomware as a Service”, AI’s increasing presence in phishing attacks, and AI’s role in the creation and execution of malware. He detailed the use of AI algorithms to create more sophisticated phishing emails and generate malicious code, emphasising the implications and challenges it creates for cyber security practices e.g., programmes like Chat GPT or Bard can be tricked into writing malware simply by asking the right questions.
Mark then detailed the protective side of the equation. He emphasised the growing importance of AI in defending against cyber threats, especially in endpoint protection and email security. The speech concluded by highlighting ongoing AI cybersecurity projects and innovations, encompassing website categorisation, improved phishing detection, and the exploration of new functionalities.
The central message of Mark Byrne’s speech revolved around the dynamic and evolving nature of AI’s impact on cybersecurity. He underscored the significance of regular system patching, user training to recognise phishing emails, and the incorporation of AI in security practices to adapt to ever-changing threats.
What our guests said:
All in all, the event was a great success and received some great feedback from our guests:
“Overall a very enjoyable and useful day. “
“Great day, which I enjoyed and felt was of value. Well done.”
“Varied and interesting content, felt welcomed and not lost, all presenters conveyed thoughts in an understandable and knowledgeable way”
We’re bringing our next Digital Solutions Summit to Belfast in February 2024.