The war for digital dollars intensifies as McKinsey opens up a digital campus

Consulting firm McKinsey & Company has opened up a digital campus in Singapore.

Along with acting as an incubator for start-ups to build their digital business, the campus is said to be offering its global firepower when it comes to equipping local clients with the right digital strategies and tools. The new initiative will be tapping into the knowledge of over 850 digital experts from across 30 countries, including designers, user experience experts, data scientists and agile developers.

A spokesperson told Marketing, the Digital Campus in Singapore is McKinsey’s first in Asia but it has similar hubs in other parts of the world. It will be immediately available for clients and organisations in Singapore, and Asia, but will also serve as a global hub for expertise.

This means while clients in Asia have access to it to participate in hackathons and be in a start-up like environment, it will also develop and prototype digital tools which can be used by clients globally.

Read also: Are agencies irreplaceable?

Competitor alert: Agencies, are you ready?

Michael Gryseels, senior partner, McKinsey & Company and leader of the McKinsey Digital Campus said that while everyone wants to go digital, the first step is truly understanding what that is. With the new campus in place, it will look to help clients stay ahead of the digital game by bringing together capabilities such as digital strategy and technology, advanced data and analytics, and rapid prototyping.

“For some executives, it’s about technology. For others, digital is about growth and a new way of engaging with customers. And for others still, it represents an entirely new way of doing business. To be meaningful and sustainable, we believe that digital should be seen less as a thing and more a way of doing things,” Gryseels said.

The Digital Campus is an initiative under the McKinsey Innovation Campus, a partnership with the Singapore Government, through the Singapore Economic Development Board.

Kelvin Wong, assistant managing director, EDB added digitisation in Asia presents tremendous opportunities for business model innovation and disruption across services and manufacturing industries.

“The McKinsey Digital Campus will be a key partner in the Singapore ecosystem, which will help transform and enable companies to launch innovative digital solutions for the region,” Wong added.

Meanwhile, in a conversation with Marketing, Ryan Lim, founder of QED consulting said the move is not a surprising one given the likes of PwC and others have also started their journeys in looking to “accelerate serious digital change in Singapore”.

(Read also: Deloitte Digital’s regional launch: What does it mean for the industry?)

“For some time now, we kept hearing voices of unhappiness from brands and organisations about how they had moved beyond the value that most existing agencies are able to provide. So this move was only a matter of time,” said Lim. He added that collectively, there is more education and transformation in the digital industry and this might be posing a serious challenge to existing agencies.

“The ground rule of the digital game has changed, but existing agencies are still playing the new game with old rules,” said Lim.

Rueben Anthony, managing director of Mirum Singapore added that always on customers are forcing both marketers and digital agencies to play a very much different game – one that’s much more profound and disruptive.

He added the move is hardly surprising seeing there is a “dearth of agencies today that can fulfill this” and truly “grasp the full spectrum of enterprise marketing technology.”

Anthony added that this was a primary reason Mirum Singapore, previously known as the digital agency XM Asia Pacific, chose to transition its traditional digital service offerings into that a consultancy offerings rooted in strategy, design, data and enterprise technology.

“The successful agencies of tomorrow will require both a change in operational structure and a shift in cultural mindset,” said Anthony.

(Read also: Are digital agencies becoming obsolete?)

Talent crunch remains

Nonetheless, despite the wave of change fast hitting clients, the reality of the situation remains that there is still a lack of adequate digitally savvy individuals to hasten the change across the agency sphere.

Just last week, a report by recruiting experts at Hays said that professionals in digital marketing firms all make the list of enviable people who do not need to ‘future-proof’ their career.

Why? Simply because demand for their skills is so high, and experts in these fields are in such short supply, that they can be confident there will be job opportunities for them in future.

“Without the right talent, digital transformation will be nothing more than an excellent design with a passionate senior management team, but does not go beyond the drawing board (and boardroom) to fulfil its mission,” said Lim

So while this may be only the beginning, it will be a marathon rather than a race to both equip and change mindsets across the entire organisation to support the necessary changes, added Lim.

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