Why businesses should ignore the noise and focus on strategic goals - Raj Kohli

Businesses need to look beyond buzzwords when adopting new technology and think of strategy first, according to a digital change and risk management expert.
Raj Kohli of DCR Partners in Leeds.Raj Kohli of DCR Partners in Leeds.
Raj Kohli of DCR Partners in Leeds.

Raj Kohli, who set up DCR Partners in 2014, believes that businesses can utilise technology in a better way rather than using tech for the sake of it.

“A lot of businesses will focus on buying tech for the sake of buying tech and not think about what it is that they could be doing with business value,” he told The Yorkshire Post.

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Different sized businesses face different challenges when it comes to adopting technology, Mr Kohli added.

He said: “If you look at the smaller end of the SME market, they’ve got the challenge of there being a lot of technology out there but they don’t necessarily have the internal skills and resources to be able to identify what they could be using that technology for.

“Where they have third party suppliers and partners that they work with, they tend to be transactional or tactical.

“They are not thinking about strategic needs. They are thinking ‘we’re doing this with technology today - how can that support us?’”

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Individuals at this level can be influenced by peers and buzzwords, Mr Kohli says, and make them feel as if they have to adopt certain technologies without knowing how to implement them.

Mr Kohli added: “As you go up the scale in terms of size of organisations - for medium-sized and large corporates - the challenge then becomes somewhat different.

“They probably do have more of those skills that are needed but the challenge is actually the span of control, communication and complexity that comes with the size of the organisation.

“Again technology buzzwords are often still used rather than going back to what business value is going to arise from using that tech.”

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Prior to establishing DCR Partners, Mr Kohli spent a decade at Deloitte as a senior manager. He already has ten people working on DCR Partners and hopes to continue growing the business.

His time at Deloitte and also seeing family members run their own businesses influenced his decision to go it alone.

Mr Kohli said: “I’m surrounded by people in my family that run their own businesses, first and foremost. That influence has always been there from the start.

“The other part is that being at Deloitte for ten years it gave me great exposure to a variety of businesses of all shapes and sizes. It really got me thinking about the paint points and challenges that businesses felt.”

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The pandemic has not adversely affected DCR Partners, Mr Kohli says, and overall from a business perspective “it’s been a positive period”.

The outbreak of coronavirus has, however, brought digital change to the forefront of people’s minds.

Mr Kohli said: “I think you can equate what has happened in the last two months to maybe 30 years of change.

“Those firms that were geared up to having technology and digital central to their business are probably the ones that are going to be going through growth right now.

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“The ones that haven’t historically invested in technology and digital are having to now play catch up.

“It’s fantastic that tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and the like have started to get people familiar with a different way of working.

“There are a raft of capabilities that many businesses are not utilising. This period has probably made senior executives, who are very traditional in their thinking, to reevaluate what the appropriate course of action is and do things in a slightly different way.”

Why data is the biggest disruptor

Data is probably the biggest disruptor that drives value, says Raj Kohli.

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He added: “It’s easy to say that tech is a disruptor but I don’t think tech in itself is a disruptor. It’s the amalgamation of different technologies, different capabilities and the way you operate a business that then leads to that disruption.”

“It’s then about how do you see your customers today and what insights you get. That’s typically done through data.”

A central aim for DCR Partners is to help clients better service their customers while also improving the way they deal with cyber security. “If our clients are doing well then we’re doing well,” Mr Kohli says.

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