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Corporate Transformation: Lessons Learnt

16 Mar

Corporate Transformation: Lessons Learnt

“Whenever I see or read about the topic of Corporate Transformation, I am reminded of our own transformation journey that started after our MBO four years ago. Not only have we learnt invaluable lessons during this exciting, yet often challenging process, but we have been fortunate to support many of our international clients during their own business transformation processes, and in so doing gain a more holistic overview of what the process really means for a company facing a myriad of internal and external factors that influence and shape the world around us, and reminding us every day that change is the only constant”, said Jens Friedrich, CEO of SpenglerFox.

Our transformation entailed the diversification of our services portfolio to meet the increasingly varied needs of our clients, the expansion of our international footprint to serve our clients wherever in the world they operate, and building on our already unique corporate culture that defines who we are and continues to differentiate us from our competitors. The one area in particular that we set our sights on and which proved to be a major influence, not just on our business but also on that of our international clients, and at a scale and pace that few of us imagined, was digital transformation.

Defining transformation

During a recent webinar we hosted with Biland Sadek on the topic of Corporate Transformation Orchestration for Digital-Non-Native Companies, Biland pointed out that: “Corporates who orchestrate the three components of a transformation i.e. business model transformation, organisational transformation and digital enabled transformation, are more successful in their transformation journey compared to companies who don’t”.

The SpenglerFox transformation

Our own business model and organizational transformation started immediately following the MBO 4 years ago. This meant a systemic and strategic change, including switching to a new business model, and implementing radical changes to our mission, structures and systems. Our digital enabled transformation on the other hand followed two distinct areas of development and strategic focus:

  • The needs of our clients who all raced to deal with the challenges of the global pandemic and the impact it had on how they are shaping their future business strategies, and the profound changes in the talent they required to manage that transformation, and
  • our own internal process automation, collaboration and digital strategies.

Long before the pandemic, the rapid development and impact of artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotic process automation and technology advancement on business in general, were major external factors shaping the way we will do business in future. But the pandemic forced many companies across the globe to re-evaluate their digital strategies given the tremendous impact of external factors such as major supply chain disruption and the profound changes in consumer behaviour, and internal challenges posed by the “work from anywhere” phenomenon that is not just a short-term reaction to the pandemic, but all signs point to this being a sustained change in business models across the globe.

Email is dead. Long live email.

Email, whilst still clearly the principal means of both internal and external communication, has become increasingly ineffective as a communication tool. Penning a list of dos and don’ts and why email has become the literal and figurative elephant in the room, will take a very long time, and several reams of paper. But suffice to say, email as an internal communication strategy is dead. Yes, we will rely on email as the principal means of communication with our clients and candidates, but one thing we learnt very quicky during the pandemic when rapid responses were critical, was that there had to be a better way to communicate internally. And this extended to collaboration on projects and making teams more efficient. Yes, most companies had a number of different digital solutions in place, but many of these took time for users to adopt and adapt to. As a consequence, we had to review our internal technology platforms and make profound changes to streamline and align systems, remove redundancies, implement standardized processes across our global footprint and introduce process automation as part of a broader digital enabled strategy.

The Interdependency of Business Model Tx, Organizational Tx and Digital Enabled Tx *

According to Microsoft (2020), the roadmap to become an intelligence driven organization, requires companies to empower their employees, optimize their operations, transform products and engage their customers. At the heart of this, is data. Digital transformation is not an end by itself, but at the heart of two ecosystems: Digital Ecosystems that provide the software backbone that enables Data Ecosystems to deliver new products and services.

Organizational transformation is an adaptive response that will take time and effort to build the right capabilities, instil organizational learning, embrace new ways of working aiming for continuous improvement and redesign organizational structures to fit the newly adapted business model, and as a result shape their organizational DNA and culture.

 Our corporate transformation journey is by no means complete – it is an ongoing process as we continue to learn and adapt to both internal and external influences and meet the rapidly changing needs of the clients we serve, who themselves are learning and adapting during their corporate transformations. Some say we are living in challenging times, but our point of view is that there has never been a more exciting time as we help to shape the lives of our employees and add value to the clients we serve.

* Extracts from our webinar, Corporate Transformation Orchestration for Digital-Non-Native Companies, with Biland Sadek as Presenter.

For more information regarding our Digitalization and Technology capabilities, please contact us for an expert consultation.



Jacques de Jager

Head of PR & Corporate Communications


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