An interview with Mike Perk

Anticipating the Enterprise Africa Summit, we asked Mike Perk to answer some key questions in order to give attendees a clearer idea of his value as a speaker.

Enterprise Alliance: You have been working for some years helping business leaders looking to transform their organizations to become digitally connected and relevant. As you look forward to addressing an audience of business leaders in need of insight into how to get their arms around emerging and tempting technologies, what barriers to their understanding have you observed in recent years?

Mike Perk: Through long experience helping people, brands and businesses realize their potential, I have decoded why leaders of digitally mature organizations succeed and why others fail to reap the benefits of digital transformation.

My experience across South Africa is that businesses do want to digitally transform, but mistakenly believe this transformation is driven by technology. This is a big problem because the technology is only part of the equation. I communicate to business leaders that they must embrace digital change and can better do so if they develop a clear vision and a compelling plan to bring their people along on this journey as transformation deeply effects the entire organization.

Enterprise Alliance: What can you do to help get past these barriers of understanding and the fear that comes along with it?

Mike Perk: Given the current economic climate, the need for leadership to step up and become digitally mature has never been greater. But leading in a digital world requires new behaviors, actions and — most importantly — authentic ownership of the digital change.

To help clients move from fear of transformation to embracing transformation, I follow a methodology that stresses establishment of clear-eyed transformational goals, covers internal communication requirements, a more positive reaction to temporary failures that will occur along the way, and inevitably the fostering of a culture that embraces personal growth and the growth of others.

The bottom line is that values rather than trends drive the technology decisions these leaders make.

Enterprise Alliance: There is always a lot of vendor, and even analyst, hype surrounding emerging technologies. What brief advice can you give to prospective attendees of our event that will help them set the hype aside and concentrate not on what they can do but how to approach their adoption and eventual deployment?

Mike Perk: Technology changes constantly, and this is precisely why business leaders need to drive technology decisions based on values, using that stance as a ‘North Star’ that will help to avoid the distractions of vendor hype.

Enterprise Alliance: Specific to the African continent, are there aspects to the market that you consider to be beneficial to client organizations seeking technology evolution?

Mike Perk: Africans have a true sense of community and in a world that will thrive through collaboration, this needs to be amplified and encouraged. For many, entrepreneurship is the only way of survival and this has led to amazing innovations across the continent, at both a global and local level. If that innovation culture can be nurtured within a corporate context, rather than squashed by hierarchical structures, then organizations and Africa as a continent has a chance not only to keep up with the rest of the world, but to start to leapfrog it.

Mike Perk

CEO, WWC