Advisory Boards & Digital Transformation

Thought Leadership Articles

Published 20 July 2023

John Helstrip

Digital Transformation | Marketing Technology | Strategy | Board Advisor - Certified Chair


Digital transformation is hard. It’s urgent, often expensive, it’s frequently not a clear path, and the commercial world is littered with carcases of failed attempts. It relies on clarity of scope, people, and technology all coming together.

UK based Certified ChairTM and seasoned digital transformation professional John Helstrip, examines how best practice advisory boards can support the digital transformation journey and leans on his experience of working in tech, product strategy and delivery, and marketing technology with some of the largest and most complex businesses in the world to do so.

Having co-founded, launched, scaled, and managed a start-up business which became a Facebook top 10 partner and Twitter top 3 partner in paid social, take a look at what John has to share.

Advisory Boards Enable Digital Transformation

“According to the leading consulting houses (McKinsey, BCG, KPMG and Bain & Co) the risk of failure for organisations regarding digital transformation sits between 70% to 95%.  Not going through digital transformation drives up technology costs, creates substantial inefficiency and doesn’t enable appropriate customer engagement and delivery.  Advisory boards enable alignment across executive teams which is the key driver as different parts of the executive team have different ways of seeing things and this means their teams work differently, leveraging different technologies.  Bringing the organisation together across Process, People and Technology is key!

Change requires a Top Down, Bottom Up approach. Advisory Boards enable the organisations at an executive level to come together, Top Down, and enable that transformation, which is critically important!  With executive alignment it means that teams within the organisation led by their Executives will do things appropriately.  Also engaging with the teams, Bottom Up, to align on how teams do work through the Process, and the use cases for technology to support them is key, this means what they need data for and how they leverage technology is answered for them.  Engaging with People for training and potentially new recruitment is also key.

I worked with a global organisation across 125 countries working through this transformation and we saved them $75million per annum.  This was enabled by getting alignment across the Process and supporting Technology through a number of advisory sessions.

With another global organisation, for 2 years they had tried to go through transformation.  I worked with the Board and executive team and enabled the business to own the transformation and got global alignment on process, reconfigured the centralised technology to support this – Top Down, Bottom Up.  Within 3 months, transformation was initiated.  This saved them £4million per annum.

Leveraging Advisory Boards to enable transformation is key.  In the future landscape this is incredibly important, as an example research by McKinsey shows a 40% increase in revenues from personalised consumer experiences – this requires unified working across teams to support that personalisation across the consumer journey, leveraging the same technology opens up huge opportunity for businesses.”


John Helstrip
Previously Director Marketing Technology at Bain & Co
Digital Transformation | Marketing Technology
Strategy | Board Advisor – Certified Chair™




Connect with the Advisor Concierge