“Change or you will be changed”

By Ian Mean Business West Gloucestershire director Photo shows Roland Emmans of HSBC
HSBC Head of Tech Roland Emmans,

“Change or you will be changed” was the watchword of Sir John Harvey-Jones, the former ICI chairman as he toured the country with his BBC TV programme, Troubleshooter.

Sir John went into companies and advised them on how they needed to change to prosper.

And those wise words echoed for me as I listened to Roland Emmans, head of technology at HSBC bank, when he was the key speaker at our Business West Wiltshire and Swindon Initiative webinar-Building Back Better.

Our Swindon & Wiltshire director, Ian Larrard, said that over the last 14 months Covid has meant that technology in the workplace had really come to the fore.

He is so right.

And Tom Lloyd-Jones, deputy head of corporate banking for HSBC in the South West, said: “Over the last 24 months, we have had a period of change like no other. We have a different perspective and a view into people’s lives”.

That’s why we are beginning to re-invent the world through technology.

Technology experts can be very boring when they speak-and often overwhelming.

Roland is none of these as you will see from the recording of his presentation you can view via the link below.

Have a look at it—there is a lot of common sense here about making simple tech changes to your business for the better.

I particularly liked Roland’s analogy of the world we are now living in:





On working from home, he said that the genie was now well and truly out of the bottle.

“Productivity is substantially ahead of what it would be in an office”.

And if to confirm that I see that the Daily Telegraph is reporting that HSBC is piloting Zoom-free Friday afternoons for some of its staff as it “becomes the latest major UK business to tackle working from home fatigue and burnout during the pandemic”.

Roland makes the point that digital transformation of your business is all very well but it is ripe for failure with something like 70 per cent of programmes failing.

“If you are going to make digital transformation, make sure you change the process and take the people along with you” is his advice.

He believes we are now living through the fourth Industrial Revolution.

“It effectively means that the decisions are no longer being made by human beings. They are being made by the data or the machines”.

Instead of us driving a car, it will be driving itself.

And he said lots of tech trends are now accelerating.

“Increasingly, mobile phones run our lives. They are much more a super computer now than a mobile phone.

“Globally, there are about four times as many connected devices than there are people on the planet. That is a crazy stat”.

Crazy, yes, and a real indication of how society is changing.

Business West breakfast at Bowden Hall.Picture: Eloisa Wildsmith

I ask Roland how to get all this tech information over to busy SMEs.

“I would encourage everyone to look at the press to see what is going on”, he said. Like that piece in the Daily Telegraph on Zoom, for instance.

HSBC are running a whole series of webinars on how tech change can impact businesses.

“Let’s be aware that this change is going to happen to you whether you like it or not. Let’s try and get on the front foot”, says Roland.

As the late, great Sir John Harvey-Jones said: ”Change or you will be changed”.

*The third and final webinar in this Business West series will be held on June 17 with Robert King, head of sustainability financé for HSBC.