Digital Transformation from the perspective of a CFO - Part 2


Which Technologies? -  Don't build your house on quicksand!

You must have the right Digital Transformation (DX) infrastructure in place before you start to play at the application layer.

The three pillars of DX:

  • Network - Needs to be robust, private, resilient, controllable, scalable, and secure.
  • Cloud - A Hybrid infrastructure layer that seamlessly connects to your Network, and logically sits on the clean side of your firewall.
  • Security - A security wrap that protects this Network, Cloud estate, and all your endpoints, so you can embark on your journey with peace-of-mind.

Brownfield v Greenfield

It is a lot easier to achieve a Greenfield development than a Brownfield one…


It's a lot easier for a start-up to fully embrace DX, compared to long established players which appear to struggle - look at the high growth achieved by challenger banks such as Revolut and Monzo. It's predicted by next year that challenger banks will have eaten a third of traditional bank revenues.

Could a traditional bank starting off at the same time as a challenger have achieved the same outcome? For me, the answer is categorically no! Leadership, culture, risk appetite and old school app architecture wouldn't accommodate such a seismic strategic step. And to be brutally honest, those loyal customers of traditional banks wouldn't expect them to either!


Brownfield development is a lot messier… the bigger you are and the longer you have been trading, the harder it is for a company to execute DX successfully. There are many legacy systems to disentangle, rigid cultural norms to overcome, and people to carry on the journey.

One example of success in a heavy Brownfield site is the DVLA tax and licensing platform, which has stepped away from the traditional tax disc system. However, the obvious casualties of burying heads in the sand until it's too late are Blockbuster and Kodak; or indeed completely ignoring market dynamics and heading off in a high risk contrarian direction, like Metro Bank.

Garbage In Beauty Out v Garbage In Garbage Out

Ultimately, garbage in will still give you garbage out! Garbage in will not transform into beauty out, just because you have spent a fortune on a business intelligence tool… but you should get a pretty chart or two!

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