UK Companies need Digital Transformation Partners, not Digital Agencies
July 31, 2019 18:13
4 min read236 views so far!
Building a working model that works for both Digital Agencies and their clients is the holy grail. However, what surprises me is that the digital transformation service industry seems stuck on the term "digital agency" and find it reluctant to move on from its limitations.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word "agency" is defined as “a business or an organization that provides a particular service especially on behalf of other businesses or organizations”. In a digital landscape that demands greater collaboration over contract negotiation, transparency over micro-management and efficiency over the number of hours spent on development, it’s hardly surprising that the conservative "digital agency" model is struggling to survive. The term, like the digital agency model itself, is completely outdated.
What today’s UK based businesses want
The digital industry is changing constantly. Today’s clients are looking for greater collaboration, accountability, and transparency. With this comes the need for a new approach and hanging on to a traditional model won't give them any competitive advantage. Digital agencies in the UK have been built on established revenue models with agreed margins, rebates and rate cards in place. As these digital ecosystems became ever-more complex, with new layers being added to the mix, they have become increasingly difficult to adapt to the change to have sustainable growth.
The rise of in-housing in UK based companies is just one symptom of corporates craving transparency and accountability. UK's startups to Scaleups want to know how much is being spent on designing and development and also what is the margins are. They also want to understand what resources these agencies have available to them. They want to own their data and tech stack, and they want knowledgeable people within their organisations to ask the right questions.
UK based businesses need partners, not agencies. All these lean towards a need for digital partners that can provide a digital transformation experience and context, a broader view of what innovations and tech are available, as well as use cases of what works and what doesn't work. The only role of the traditional "digital agency" is that it needs to change dramatically and dynamically to service their clients now.
Digital transformation and the digital ecosystems increasing trend towards greater transparency are shaping business models in the UK. It’s a good thing because it means there’s nowhere to hide. The problem with the traditional agencies is that they can’t support the move towards in-housing in the long run as it is too conflicting. Digital agencies need to evolve like ThoughtWorks, digiryte and few other digital partners or will be in a constant struggle to survive in the UK market. One thing is long-established traditional agencies need to know is that the change isn’t easy for them but one way or the other they need to embrace it by being more fluidity. As the UK’s Digital Transformation that prides itself on creativity, we need to be more creative about the digital industry and its revenue models and move beyond the "digital agency". Whether it may be UK’s startups, scaleups or enterprises, they need to know the difference between the digital agencies and digital partners before discussing their digital needs.
At Digiryte, we have moved on from being part of the new breed of digital agencies to be a digital partner, working with brands in an agency, consultancy, training and technology capacity. In the coming years, more UK based companies will need their unique combination of digital capabilities to fully meet their needs. These capabilities are developed and leveraged when they choose a proper digital partner and not a digital agency.