Kamales Lardi, Author of 'The Human Side of Digital Business Transformation' | Keynote Speaker | Dig
Kamales is a bold and strategic thinker in digital and business transformation. She combines over 23 years of deep cross-industry experience with the latest digital and technology solutions. Kamales is listed in the “Top 10 Global Thought Leaders in Digital Transformation” (Thinkers360). In 2022, Kamales was recognized in International 40 Over 40 - The World's Most Inspiring Women by CapGemini Invent and Female One Zero.
What's your industry?
Cross-industry experience in business advisory and technology implementation
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
I joined the tech scene in the mid-1990s and found that I had a talent for coding and all things tech. In 2000, I joined Accenture (still Andersen Consulting back then) and quickly found a passion for tech implementation in business. I've been following this passion for more than 23 years, giving advice to business leaders and helping global companies in many different industries change their traditional business models, processes, and operations to meet the needs of the digital economy and the customer experience. Based on my practical experience at Accenture and Deloitte, I established a consulting firm to help companies drive digital transformation initiatives, from strategy to execution. I successfully expanded a client portfolio across regions. I drew on this two-decade-long experience to write my recent book, ''The Human Side of Digital Business Transformation," by Wiley.
What kind of work does your daily role involve?
The best part about my work is that every day is unique! I have the flexibility to participate in a range of different activities, as well as the freedom to choose where I spend my focus and energy. But a big part of my job is advising clients and delivering projects, where I can work with companies, business leaders, and team members from different industries and parts of the world. As a thought leaders in this space, I do also spend time on insight creation and sharing, including writing articles and content, media and podcast interviews, as well as lecturing at various higher learning institutions. I have also been speaking publicly for over ten years, and have presented over 250 keynotes. I am also passionate about the transformative impact of technology in business and our lives. To keep abreast of developments, I allocate time to learn and grow my knowledge and skills in the latest technology developments.
What gets you excited about your industry?
I've worked in business and technology consulting for over two decades. The companies and business leaders I advise come from a range of industries, including financial services, pharmaceuticals, retail & commerce, consumer business, telecommunications, agriculture supply chain, food & beverage, and manufacturing, among others. As a business advisor or consultant, I have had the privilege to gain diverse industry experience, as well as engage with teams across various business functions. This depth and breadth of experience has been invaluable in building my knowledge, insights and capabilities. The rapid development of emerging technologies in the past decade has opened exponential possibilities for organizations. I believe in the transformative potential of emerging technologies and enjoy working with companies to develop strategies and solutions that leverage these technologies.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you on your journey in business?
The best advice I have ever received is to focus on value. In any situation, whether engagement or delivery, focus on the value you create for others. This advice has stuck with me and is surprisingly useful in almost every situation. For example, before stepping on stage as a keynote speaker, I remind myself that I am there to create value for the audience. As I prepare deliverables for client engagements or lead a team, focusing on the value I can create, no matter how big or small, matters the most.
What's the most challenging project or situation you've overcome to date?
As a transformation leader, I discovered that I had to experience a personal transformation in order to better lead others and organizations through the digital transformation journey. Personal transformation is a challenging and complex process that involved recognizing and overcoming poor habits and limiting beliefs, dealing with discomfort and uncertainties, as well as embracing change, maintaing motivation and momentum. This process raises a mirror to one's own strengths and weaknesses, allowing us to rebuild a stronger foundation. For me, the process was truly fulfilling and I feel that I understand and recognize my purpose and values, which remains a constant in any situation.
Are you using any AI tools right now to help grow your business or, if not, do you plan to use any this year?
Yes. AI-based solutions can potentially improve the efficiency of business operations and processes, support improved decision-making based on a broad set of data, information, and insights, and create superior customer experiences across various touchpoints. Today, AI-based platforms and tools are available to businesses of any size, offering a range of solutions at affordable prices. For example, AI-based tools that accelerate marketing and content strategies, enabling businesses to personalize marketing and sales efforts by analyzing customer data and behavior, improving engagement and conversion rates.
Overall, do you see AI as a good thing for business?
Yes. Recently, there has been a lot of hype in the media regarding ChatGPT. However, there are a significant number of AI-based platforms and tools on the market at affordable prices. These platforms allow businesses to add to, improve, and speed up their offerings and abilities. In the current digital economy, companies are struggling to stand out in the noisy and overcrowded business landscape. AI-based tools offer an upper hand and could potentially create hyper-personalized interactions with target customers, expand global market reach, speed up capabilities, and strengthen brand positioning—all with less cost and resources. By leveraging the power of AI, businesses can gain a competitive advantage, reduce costs, and improve productivity and efficiency.
Overall, do you see AI as a threat or an opportunity in business?
Opportunity. Although there are potential risks and challenges associated with AI-based solutions, such as ethical and privacy considerations, the potential benefits are significant and transformative for businesses. Companies should ensure that AI-based solutions are implemented in alignment with their values, goals, and overall business strategy. In addition, it is critical to avoid building bias into the AI by ensuring diversity of thought represented by different genders, cultures, upbringing, sexual orientations, and educational backgrounds, as part of the development team.
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
Business leaders will adopt a more authentic style of leadership by demonstrating strong values and creating business environments that provide psychological safety and empathy. This could be transformative and impactful for businesses, people and ultimately create sustainable practices for future organizations.