The Adoption of New Technologies in Business: My Interview with Digital Transformation Advisor Antonio Grasso

Today, I am excited to welcome Antonio Grasso. Antonio is a Digital Transformation Advisor, Founder & CEO of Digital Business Innovation Srl.

Antonio is regarded as one of the top Digital Transformation influencers on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, digital transformation, the Internet of Things, and blockchain. He is an advisor, and enterprise and public sector consultant and mentor to numerous startups. He is currently collaborating with Siemens, Intel, The European Commission, Atos, Cisco, Ericsson, IBM, Talend, Huawei, Automation Anywhere, and many others as Content Advisor, B2B Influencer and Software Innovator. He is also a Global Juror for the United Nations’ SDGs – Global Entrepreneurs Award.

In this interview, I have asked Antonio to provide his perspective about technology and what are issues, challenges, and opportunities for corporate leaders to embrace new technologies to build a competitive advantage and get better results for their organizations.

Based on your long experience as a Digital Transformation Advisor, what are the main challenges that executives face when it comes to embracing new technologies for their business? 

In my experience as a consultant for both startups and large companies, I have always found a lack of holistic vision in the “adoption of new technologies” approach. In particular, it seems that managers fall in love with technology and want to use it at all costs without deeply evaluating the impact on people and business processes.

This leads to a lack of strategy that can sometimes undermine the outcome of even the most fascinating digital transformation projects.

In particular, reengineering processes, educating people and changing approaches to problem-solving can have a huge impact on the effectiveness of the whole initiative.

Let’s have a look at the other side of the table. You advise and work for large technology companies. What are the main challenges they have in influencing their clients to embrace technologies?

Besides third-party competition and political interference, I believe that one of the main challenges for the next few years will be dealing with the “disintermediation” phenomenon, in other words, the tendency of people not to believe anymore in the corporate messages conveyed in traditional media.

The communication strategies of large companies are strongly impacted by this phenomenon.

Talking about other industries and their transformation strategy, we all know that the Oil and Gas y industry now moving in the new Energy Transition. Given your experience and latest talks at Adipec, what is your view on this?

Unfortunately, the Oil and Gas industry is strongly anchored to their products and many are hesitant to abandon their comfort zone. Some have begun to see business opportunities in embracing renewables, but this means damaging their current core business.

So, good intentions aside, I believe that the energy transition for Oil and Gas is mainly a diversification strategy rather than driven by innovation.

Good point, I feel the same. Finally, what is your best advice for leaders and executives on both sides of the table to find the best way to understand each other, work together and embrace successfully emerging technologies?

The technologies we have been seeing in recent years is profoundly changing the “Technological Innovation” paradigm to which companies are anchored in their evolutionary strategies. The role of technology in the company is changing from the Facilitator level to the Enabler level. In other words, while in the past technology allowed us to do something faster and better, today it allows us to do things that before we could have not done. This changes everything.

The so-called Digital Disruption is always lurking, and companies must put together all the available forces and resources to face this epochal change.

Therefore, it’s not about finding the best path or the best understanding, it’s about surviving the change. This may be a sufficient reason to work as a team, design effective strategies to adapt to new business models, and think of how emerging technologies can impact the value production chain and the development of new products and services.

Thank you so much Antonio. We need a different perspective in business to enable technology to improve results. Your insights are very useful.

 Andrea Petrone

Leadership and Growth Business Advisor, Executive Coach

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