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Delivering Innovation at Scale

Digital transformation creates new revenue streams and improves processes’ efficiency, by a series of small and large-scale projects utilizing/installing digital capabilities. In its entirety—it is big. Everything and everyone will not be aligned perfectly, however, sharing an understanding of the goals and providing transparency is paramount. By providing a mechanism for change, it gives businesses an opportunity to succeed.


Innovation is the change that unlocks new value.

— Jamie Notter


Digital is not anymore, a mere technology, it is now part of everyday life – live, dine, exercise, bank, shop, learn, travel, work etc. Enterprise Innovation at Scale is about delivering a re-imagined and exemplary consumer/client experience, through innovation, artificial intelligence, machine learning and intelligent automation. Experiences are being redesigned to wow consumers across retail, media, banking, restaurants, food delivery and even supply chain. Each element of an enterprises business and consumer is being re-imagined to deliver, the wow unexpected experience.


How can enterprises deliver innovation at scale? In simple terms, let’s think of three key elements to effect digital transformation – Re-imaging Consumer Experience, Bring in Innovation and Implementing through Intelligent Automation. The traditional legacy businesses are being transformed through Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented/Virtual Reality, IoT and many other digital technologies. For instance, Disney–All through its long history, it has been an inventive company. However, it has faced many challenges on its way. Recent adaptation of digital technology across its entire business has paid marvelous dividends. Providing customized MagicBand for every visitor at its theme park and hotels is one of the ways how digital technology is used. This has profited both, the company and customers. The quality of experience and efficiency of gadgets have been greatly increased through personal and interactive tracking and sophisticated real time data analytics. Labor scheduling accuracy has improved by 20% in its theme parks, representing an incredible payoff. Elsewhere in its empire, store sales are up by 20% following re-design and embedding of digital technology. Summing up, Disney’s approach to technology is transforming customer experience, cross channel interaction and network connectivity.


Innovation at scale for enterprises is a digital transformation process/function which bring three key elements to deliver sustainable impact:
















  1. Re-image Consumer Experience: Enterprises are working with creative design studios to re-imagine consumer experience through a process of “dreaming.” The idea is to take clients and consumers to a state of levitation that can enable them to dream the impossible. It is important to ensure that the dreamers are free from the shackles of technology, practicality and implementation realities. This creates a sweet but near impossible dream. How do we make the impossible, possible!

  2. Bring in Innovation: The world is full of innovators, who have re-imagined, re-designed and implemented amazing innovative solutions to deliver snippets of near impossible dreams. It is possible to explore, discover and bring in these innovations to make the impossible dreams, near possible. The solution design through innovation in most cases delivers the wow consumer/client experience. The innovative solution includes data and intelligent automation strategy, cloud, mobility, blockchain, AI, social media, IoT, machine learning and cybersecurity with advanced analytics to unlock new intelligence. The solutioning augments the power of humans with artificial intelligence, leverage AI and advanced analytics algorithms to sense, comprehend, act and learn across value chain at an unprecedented speed and scale. 

  3. Implement through Intelligent Automation: Todays implementation is agile, powered by artificial intelligence, digital technology and machine learning. Today’s workforce consists of digital workers. A combination of all these elements is what we call intelligent automation.

The operations at workplace is set to have both human and digital workers, becoming an intelligent workforce completing the task/set of tasks with the power of intelligent automation, analytics and decision-making capabilities while increasing the productivity and quality and cutting down the cost. In the process of intelligent workforce operations, cognitive technologies play an important role, learning from the best.


The above model of enterprise innovation at scale has been tested across multiple large digital transformation engagements across many of the fortune 500 and global 2000 companies by us. We call this the IaS Model of Innovation. Let’s discuss the model and how it was applied to one of the top 5 banks in the US and led by one of the big four firms.

A case study of KYC/AML refresh for US consumer banking and wholesale global banking.
















The key product developed at Tholons Digital is a fully digital insight based, AI/ML fintech platform for Know Your Client/Anti Money Laundering (KYC/AML). This fintech solution incorporated AML data analytics from Amberoon and intelligent automation. This was first beta created for a top 5 US bank with compliance audit review by one of the top big fours. This solution addressed the entire KYC refresh of US consumers and Global wholesale banking. This solution enabled the bank to cover mid-risk clients that otherwise would have required them to quadruple their KYC team from 1200 to over 4000 bankers at a cost of USD 200 million/year. The Tholons Digital fintech solution enabled the bank to deploy at an average cost of only USD 100 million/year and with less than 400 bankers.


This is an amazing validation of the model as it demonstrates that clients are willing to adopt a collaborative best of breed solution, consisting of multiple moving parts and stakeholders. Innovation from smaller startups are being welcomed. Solutions that have not been implemented and proven before are being embraced at scale. Five years ago, no one would have ever imagined that a heavily regulated large bank would ever risk evolving to such a solution so fast. Survival, growth and leadership requires risk taking, grit, the conviction and hunger for innovation.

Transforming into Digital Business

“Digital transformation means different things to different business. Whether businesses are seeking to optimize manufacturing, improve an in-store experience or create a new business model, the transformation required crosses multiple lines of business.”—Laura Merling, VP of Autonomous Vehicle Solutions at Ford. In order to succeed in this age, enterprises must use a company-wide framework for their digital transformation and IoT strategy. This transformation will require alignment across the entire business—including investment dollars, priorities, measurement and metrics, and the path to execution.


Innovation catalyzing digital transformation can be an amazing thing. Companies like Tholons have adapted a unique way to get its innovation core up and running. They believe that the weight of innovation stands on 5 different pillars. These are Clients, Startups, Mentors, Platform builders and Funding. All of these aspects need to work together, in order to run a successful digitally innovative business.

If there is a new solution, that needs to be implemented on a large platform, think about the clients first. Will it add value to use the new solution? If yes, it requires to either develop the solution in-house or avail a more economic option outside. Startups are a great resource to develop niche market products and can add great value. Then comes the mentor, without proper guidance, a plan can go off track and cost the company. The solutions created by the startups are then integrated by the platform builders, followed by the appropriate funds to execute the plan and endeavor.


“Everybody wants to beat the competition; so, product development is often a race to give customers more,”–Forbes. One-upmanship is the bread and butter of the corporate world. In the digital world, there are no laws of physics to constrain innovation. So, adding new solutions can be easy. The focus needs to lie on how the customer feels while using that solution. For instance, ‘StubHub’ is the world’s largest ticket marketplace, with millions of unique visitors and ticket sales every year. The company was struggling to meet the digital demands of processing thousands of transactions every day. To keep up consistency of providing better service to their users, StubHub created its own private data cloud, with incredible scaling capacities to overcome the problem. This makes sure that company can cope up with the variable level of demands the website experiences on each day. Addition to this the company also has planned to use public cloud to process local transactions in many countries and add features to make selling tickets easier and available for mobile users, and easier for group of people to buy tickets.


Digital transformation creates new revenue streams and improves processes’ efficiency, by a series of small and large-scale projects utilizing/installing digital capabilities. In its entirety—it is big. Everything and everyone will not be aligned perfectly, however, sharing an understanding of the goals and providing transparency is paramount. By providing a mechanism for change, it gives businesses an opportunity to succeed.


People Primacy in a Digital Transformation

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

— Richard Branson


Humans are experiencing technology’s ability to transform life in ways which were unimaginable a decade ago. For example, online shopping has changed our behavior because we no longer need to physically go to the store. One can order almost anything from anywhere on their mobile phone. This serves as a reminder that digital transformation at an organizational level has an impact reaching far beyond technology and enterprise alone.


Customer-driven digital experiences are becoming prospective, leading plenty of marketers to bet everything on that progressing digital sector. Digital transformation and innovation demand high-powered capabilities on the technical side. However, what often goes unnoticed is that humans are still the principal factor in all of these changes. In practice, it is the effective digital skills of the employees that lead to digital transformation. Businesses must incorporate a new culture that uses digital technology advancement to empower people to learn, create new innovative solutions, drive change and bring disruption to the status quo.


Digital transformation can only occur when organization understands the impact of both internal and external individuals’ have on the business. For instance, when a private citizen transacts with the local government, they are simply focused on their personal issue. By deploying a customer-centric digital transformation strategy, the government can drive a strategy that is not only outcome-oriented but also intuitive for users.

Platforms can handle the mechanics of managing information, but it is only through creating a culture of transformation amongst the individuals within the organization that the business can efficiently transform. This means breaking down departmental silos and encouraging staff to collaborate as they work towards the common goal of giving an exceptional experience to all stakeholders. Without the culture of change, a business might become digital but not have actually transformed. This will not be sustainable in the long run.


The human side of digital transformation needs to function efficiently, and organizing people is harder than organizing technology. A study by MIT and Capgemini which surveyed global 2000 companies, found that 90% of surveyed companies stated digital skills as a must for their future. However, 77% of those companies felt that those digital skills were missing in their enterprises. 74


Companies should make digital training as a part of their operation. Up-skilling of employees should never stop for companies to evolve and innovate. The most fruitful programs will emphasize formulated learning opportunities, new content and assets, and the development of job experience.


Business technology leaders understand that digital economy requires a new workforce with new skillsets and new attitudes. However, organizations are struggling with skill shortages as the brightest talents are attracted to startups since millennials see a rapid change of workplace as the norm. Creating a liquid workforce means striking the right balance between the developments of a startup mentality, within the organization while simultaneously maintaining core business processes. This requires more than the correct engagement strategy for the digital natives, who soon will be a majority of the workforce. It requires major cultural re-engineering of organizations. The “born-digital” era, including human birth into the digital ecosystem, claims a world designed to accommodate its needs and desires around how work ought to be organized.

For a proper development of real-time communication in a distributed workforce, contractors must be provided with associated tools that are efficient across distances. An illustration at MindFlash allows us to understand better. The contractors were given, real-time access to each individual in their project team, through slack channels and Sococo spaces. This gave ability for immediate file and screen sharing. The implementations benefited both contractors and employees involved in the organization.


Companies need to know, how important feedback mechanisms and target success rates are, in handling liquid workforces. For instance, the Agile Scrum methodology, including fifteen-minute regular team meetings, periodic reporting of intermediate project outcomes and progress monitoring are all aspects of effective liquid team management.


Organizations often lack top talent with deep skills that are needed to successfully face the world’s most challenging issues. In the sharing economy, governments and companies must work together to create a new social contract for those in today’s fragile, flexible and innovative workforce. Leading companies are allowing anytime, anywhere working options using collaboration tools and cloud-based workflows which benefit both the worker and the business.

A more horizontal style of leadership in co-creating and managing is required to sustain a digitally skilled workforce and agile project models. With readily available data and artificial intelligence, more decisions will be made on the front lines where work transpires.


A dexterous workforce will only prosper in an organization that, confronts change, and equips to maneuver and adapt. It is that process which requires thorough oversight. Consequently, more organizations are investing in end-to-end workforce management solutions—such as those provided by Oracle, Workday and SAP to deliver key insights into workforce capabilities and readiness. This allows leaders and organizations to get more information about their workforce which they can use to optimize the organization’s output.


Creating an agile workforce is challenging, but the rewards are boundless. By controlling the established workforce, businesses can be developed in ways that are smarter and faster than they ever envisioned. In the digital era, this constant growth and solid footing are more crucial than ever.


IBM is one of the companies developing a workforce that is capable of digitally changing the business landscape. IBM’s strategy paper titled “Liquid” aims towards a more adaptable organization, one that is more suitable for the digital age. Only a small percentage of executives—who develop IBM’s strategy and interact with clients—will retain the traditional steady jobs at the IT giant, while the rest are hired on a project-to-project basis for variable durations of time, depending on the workload. Workers can in turn offer their services on a platform analogous to the online auction house, eBay. Companies from all over the world can access these virtual stalls in search of freelancers.


Cloud computing and workforce networks are changing the way the contemporary organizations work. The traditional employment model—working nine to five and for years with the same employer—is on the decline everywhere. About 50% of the workforce in Germany work this way. The rest are specialists, casuals, or can be booked through temp agencies.


A new order is being established which is especially predominant in the IT sector. The relationship between the individual and the organization is the greatest challenge in the changed business world. Lynda Gratton, professor of Management Practice at London Business School has a beautiful analogy: “It’s been sort of a child-parent relationship, where the employee was the child and organization, the parent. Over time and with the new technologies, the relationship has shifted to an adult-to-adult connection.” She believes that people will be able to choose their own career and learning journeys.


The personal success of an individual depends on their professional digital fame. The people in talent cloud will post their career success and skills instead of their favorite music track or photos. The resulting CV will be a premise for future work applications for companies utilizing the liquid model.


Businesses are rapidly realizing that a liquid workforce is the new benchmark. Conventional methods that fall short are unable to adapt to changes in the digital world, and businesses are now learning that their workforce is another aspect of their business that can and should be a competitive advantage.


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