Robert Sawatzky
Apr 26, 2017

Ogilvy 'S_HIFTs' toward digital transformation services in Asia

Ogilvy & Mather teams up with IDC and DHR International in Asia Pacific to help clients deal with digital disruption.

Ogilvy 'S_HIFTs' toward digital transformation services in Asia

Ogilvy & Mather is putting a fresh emphasis on digital transformation services for its clients in Asia Pacific, forming a new partnership called S_HIFT together with IDC Asia Pacific and DHR International Asia Pacific.  

The new venture will allow the partners to pool expertise and resources to give their business clients an integrated plan for their C-suites to tackle digital disruption. Ogilvy will advise clients on branding and customer experience, while IDC will naturally tackle technology-related challenges, with DHR providing staffing and talent leadership support.

Jerry Smith, Ogilvy chief operating officer, said that when it comes to digital disruption, Asian companies struggle with who owns the agenda in the boardroom. “It was clear that transformation of this magnitude for any organisation transcends functions and departments,” he said in a release. “Collaboration holds the key, and in discussions with our partners at IDC and DHR, it seemed logical that we ourselves collaborate for the mutual benefit of our clients.”

Smith will join IDC group vice-president Jason Gorud and DHR managing partner Steve Stine to form S_HIFT’s core leadership team.  Each partner will bring its respective clients to S_HIFT, locally or regionally, to provide fuller consultative services than each could provide individually.

Gorud, for instance, admits technology alone can’t solve digital transformation. “Technology should enable marketing, sales, customer service, R&D, and supply chain management as they all stand to benefit from it,” he said. “But… it's just one part of the bigger questions we’re hoping to help answer in this partnership.”  

The concept fits Ogilvy’s global drumbeat on moving towards integrated solutions.  The model also addresses the growing challenges faced by agencies from the big consultancies who can offer C-suites a full range of solutions.  

Last October, Ogilvy global chief executive John Seifert told Campaign Asia-Pacific that consultancies were a major factor.  “They have an advantage in that they can go in and redesign and reprogram how clients think about this, and then say, by the way, we can fulfil all that change stuff. It’s a big deal.”

Wider consultative services may be the end game, but the partnership did not elaborate on which clients are signed up or eager for such services.  

More immediately, S_HIFT will focus on providing research and executive briefing events to be held in Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong, beginning May 9.

The announcement comes just a day after consultancy arm OgilvyRED released new research suggesting seven in 10 APAC companies haven’t really started the process of digital transformation.

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