Oxford Business School is collaborating with ‘Digital Transformation Company’ Polaris Consulting to launch an education program aimed at making bankers digitally aware. The Oxford Polaris Digital Academy will strive to help bankers understand the demands of digital business.

Jitin Goyal, CEO of Polaris, said the company has built universal digital channels for some of the biggest banks around the globe and proprietary horizontal technologies for companies looking to undertake the digital journey, as reported by Forbes.

Digital Transformation is considered as significant as the Industrial Revolution. This phenomenon affects almost every aspect of an enterprise across industries. How products are conceived, sold, and supported is undergoing a sea change as a result of the confluence of new digital capabilities, most notably SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics, & Cloud) technologies.

As evidence of this state of flux, a recent study done by Altimeter Group and reported in Forbes found that while 88% of companies surveyed stated that they were undergoing digital transformation, only one-quarter of them had a clear understanding of what the strategy should be. Further, an MIT study found that 78% of executives surveyed believe that digital transformation is critical to their organization, yet 63% believe their pace of change is too slow.

Goyal expressed disappointment about how most of the CXO’s today don’t understand the real implications of digital, despite all the ‘talk’ about digital. He said “ I have realized while I am talking to some of these very senior folks that in many cases their understanding of the real implications of digital, how it is going to transform their business and what needs to be done to be part of that game, is not widely understood, especially in the board room and among senior executives.”

This, Goyal says, triggered the idea of developing the Oxford Polaris Digital Academy. “How can we help these senior executives avoid turning into digital dinosaurs, and what better way than to tie up with one of these most prestigious universities in the world?”

To educate executives across industries on how to thrive in today’s complex world of digital transformation Polaris Consulting & Services Ltd is working with Saïd Business School of the University of Oxford to offer a highly innovative and visionary educational programs.

The Oxford Polaris Digital Academy will provide participating executives with the insights and skills they require to better manage ambiguities related to digital transformation and excel in this fast-moving environment. Experts from both the organizations will facilitate a series of two-day sessions where executives learn through a variety of methods including simulations, workshops, roundtables and peer-to-peer learning by sharing personal insights and experiences of operating in high-stakes, high-pressure solution-driven environments.

The announcement by Polaris claims that the program is highly innovative and visionary in its design, the program will challenge, inspire and stimulate thinking of the highest order with fresh ideas by utilizing the full-discipline capability of Saïd Business School. Participating executives will gain greater self-awareness of their leadership capabilities. This will help them create the energy and emotional commitment to drive change and bring new perspectives on the internal and external context in which they operate.

Andrew White, associate dean for executive education  said that the school has a lot of experience in developing executive education for organizations going through transformations.

“In pretty much every industry there are big transformations taking place because of digital, or changes in customers values, or in globalization, so we were very interested when Polaris came to us.” The school has several faculty members who will be excellent resources for the digital transformation program, he added.

Oxford’s executive programs are highly participatory. “We do a lot of work around scenarios, using scenarios and teaching scenario planning as a methodology,” he said. “It’s not just about teaching, but also the learning we can pick up on what is going on in financial services, because the whole financial services space is in a state of real revolution. I don’t think we have seen the full implication of what digital will do to that industry by a long way; we are at the beginning of a long run of innovation that will change the way financial services are developed.”

Goyal said that- “The single biggest danger organizations face is what he calls the Kodak problem — you have a large investment in an existing technology with a very large workforce using it.

“Somebody else comes in with disruptive technology and the guy with investment in old technology doesn’t know what to do with it. Banks are sitting on so much old technology that writing it off, junking it and starting fresh is an almost impossible decision. The frequent choice is a work-around — adding a modern layer on top of the legacy. In the academy we will tackle this issue head on and talk about examples where this has been done in a smart and politically savvy way.”

“We try to put before them evidence of why old structures are breaking down, bringing examples of their industry and other industries as well. Then we put together processes to help them reflect on their own strategy and the way that strategy will not take them into the future. We often find they know deep down that present practices are not sustainable.”

They need to recognize that is easier in a place where they will be supported in thinking what the future might look like, he added.

 

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