Think Your Business Doesn’t Need Digital Transformation? Think Again. (This Guy Combined IoT & Rope)

Think Your Business Doesn’t Need Digital Transformation? Think Again. (This Guy Combined IoT & Rope)

Consider the terms “technical innovation” and “digital transformation.”

“Rope” probably isn’t the very next word you think of.

Maybe we’re all thinking too conventionally.

Digital Transformation Pioneers aren’t conventional. They’re pushing the limits of innovation, in every industry, in every possible function. They use technology in unexpected ways, sometimes for surprising industries. Dean Haverstraw is one such individual.

On our latest episode of our Digital Transformation Pioneers podcast, Dean jumped in and told us 3 game-changing lessons he’s learned about digital transformation. (And he used a real example of how he put them all in practice, to intertwine rope, Tide, and IoT.)

Every Industry, Every Business, Can Innovate With Digital

“We’re busy trying to create the next museum piece, by changing the world of rope through technology.”
— Dean Haverstraw

Digital innovation scales and improves every business. Maybe you’re convinced of that already. Perhaps, however, you believe that transformation can do little for your non-tech product, and that innovation is unnecessary, or even impossible.

Dean would challenge that thinking, and he’d do it with this example of rope, Tide, and ingenuity.

While the details may be specific to his company, his transformative ideas and out-of-the-box thinking should encourage everyone to take a second glance at their business and ask themselves, “How can I use digital transformation to improve efficiency and speed, eliminate waste, and enhance experience?”

Every Business Should be Tide to Digital Transformation. Even Rope. (That’s Actually Not a Typo)

Self-marketed as the “Lexus of ropes,” Samson specializes in high-end rope usage for cranes, tugs, and mooring. They sell twine and consumer-use rope as well, but if you’re tugging a $1B freighter, there’s a good chance you’re using Samson.

Many of their largest clients (like BP and Shell) need to test their rope at intervals for wear and tear, so they send in samples to Samson for inspection. A major pain point for Samson and their clients was the handling of these samples: Both parties wanted to have access to the receipt and documentation of the samples in real-time.

So they talked internally at Samson: A SharePoint method was suggested.

But Dean had a genius idea: You know the IoT buttons you can use to order Tide from Amazon Dash? Dean decided to reconfigure a few of the buttons (which cost about $3 each) to notify both parties of when the shipments were delivered.

Ingenuity at its finest.

1: Aim High, & Consider All Options

That Tide button example teaches everyone a few things about digital transformation.

The first, Dean said, is to “consider all options, and aim high: You might hit the trees, but it’s better than trudging along the trail of mediocrity.”

“Aim high: You might hit the trees, but it’s better than trudging along the trail of mediocrity.”
— Dean Haverstraw

Shoot high with your digital transformation project. Even if your IT project is unable to deliver the entirety of your ambitious goal, if you’re shooting a little high and falling a little short, you’ll have made a significant leap. “Every significant leap or breakthrough was because we stretched our mind or applied a little technology, or had an outside viewpoint that opened our eyes to a novel viewpoint.”

2: Knowledge Where You Need It

Digital transformation is not just about the data.

It’s about making the data accessible.

This goes for iPaaS, APIs, information flow, … essentially, any IT. It’s all about accessibility, usability, and scalability.

At Samson, they use Jitterbit (another genius move!) just to get the info to the people where they need it, when they need it.

By constantly focusing on rapid information accessibility, and being willing to think outside of the box (like the Tide button example, Jitterbit, etc.), they’ve had people from Fortune 100 companies like BP and Shell tell them, “Wow. We couldn’t do what you guys are doing with our entire IT department.”

3: Focus on Solutions, Not Systems

“Don’t focus on the 1s and 0s. Focus on what the 1s & 0s are saying.”
— Dean Haverstraw

This can be a tough one for all the tech nerds (ourselves included) out there: not everyone has the same technical understanding you do. But guess what?

Everyone understands solutions. Everyone can buy into a story.

As a digital transformation pioneer, the technical aspects of IT may be compelling to you, but unless you are a tech person with the knowledge base to understand it, not everyone understands (or gets excited about) that level of detail.

But everyone gets excited with results, and everyone loves a problem when it disappears.

Digital can be applied in infinite ways to develop innovative solutions for every aspect of business. And if you can tell a story in a compelling way, you’ll stir people’s excitement, so they’re not only jumping on the bandwagon behind you, but they’ll end up pushing you even farther.

Every business, every industry, digital transformation.

Taken from an interview with Dean Haverstraw from Samson Rope. Hear more from other Digital Transformation Pioneers.

If you don’t use iTunes, check out all podcast episodes here.