Key themes from DTX Manchester 2023 - Digital Transformation

I was lucky enough to block out my diary last week and head over to the DTX 2023 event at Manchester Central (or Gmex for those that remember calling it that!). It was a fantastic event, and looking at my LinkedIn feed, it looked like pretty much everyone I am connected with was there in some capacity. 

Not only did I get to have my picture taken with some stormtroopers, drool over an Aston Martin DB5, listen to a fireside chat with Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller and attend a fantastic keynote with Matt Dawson and Sam Booth, but I also got to attend various breakout sessions covering the latest trends in digital strategy. 


The breakout events were a nice mix of technical and strategic and covered a whole bunch of domains. Whether it was a session on how customer service needs to evolve, cybersecurity is massively complex or how organisations have embraced the cloud and AI, there was something for everyone. There were some key themes that really stood out, and resonated with what I am seeing and hearing in the industry. It is always great to attend events like this, as they help solidify your thinking. 

The stand-out themes for me focused heavily on reducing complexity within your organisation, while ensuring your team is well looked after and given fun and exciting jobs.

Skills Gap

We've all heard it, and yeah, we know there is a skills gap in technologies such as AI, Cloud and cyber security. However, what really resonated is the push for organisations to stop chasing the unicorn hires that everyone is fighting for. You already have a very capable and willing team already working for you, so why not focus on upskilling them to meet the demands you see today. They will not only have loads of enthusiasm but will have a knowledge of your goals and capabilities that will be a massive advantage. 

Focus on automating repetitive tasks

I remember shouting about this back in my engineering days, computers are fantastic at automating boring, repetitive tasks. It lets you free up your teams to focus on the fun problems that require their life experiences and skills to resolve. Not only does it keep your teams engaged and excited, but it also helps cut down on things like alert fatigue. 

Tools are more than capable nowadays, so it's good to sit down and start automating the tasks that take up most time, like updating alerts, raising tickets in systems and collecting data to assist with investigations. 

Cyber security is massively complex

This is an interesting point, and something I think we all know, we just don't say it loud enough! Since 'cyber' became cool, every business chasing unicorn status is building and delivering technologies and tools to 'protect' your business. As a stakeholder within your organisation, you will be getting bombarded daily on how the next great technology will solve all your issues. As we all know, this isn't the case. 

Chances are, you already have a tool that can do what you need, or you have several tools all competing for the same tasks. My advice on this one is to sit down and come up with a strategy that covers what you NEED to achieve, evaluate what you have in place now, and work on an ACTIONABLE roadmap that fixes the gaps. Don't go down the new tech route for the sake of it. 

So what next?

The industry is in a very interesting state of change, with the fastest improvement we have ever seen. This is being pushed by the ever-evolving threat from very competent adversaries wanting to disrupt your business. What was interesting is how there are some straightforward (note, not easy), ways to face the challenge. The core is your existing teams and colleagues. Focus on giving them the best chance of doing what they do best. Invest in them, and build a strategy that helps. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the event, so if you would like to discuss it, then please book a session with me below :)