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Fast Tracking Digital Transformation

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​​The main theme at the HARMAN Spark event was digital transformation. Around 70 high-powered attendees discussed new digital possibilities and how they will transform businesses everywhere. 12 leading lights from the digital world spoke about topics as diverse as how to reinvent yourself as a technology company to case studies from Microsoft, Ladbrokes, Jaguar Land Rover and more.


HARMAN: 70 Years of Digital Transformation


Sanjay Dhawan, EVP & President, HARMAN Connected Services and CTO HARMAN, kicked-off by talking about how HARMAN has transformed itself and the ecosystem around it by leveraging data, devices and design. And how HARMAN is now digitally transforming to its customers by the Connected Services division. 



Digital Transformation by Gfk


Ranjiv Dale & Jack Bergquist from Gfk UK talked about how to survive and prosper with the digital opportunities now presenting themselves. According to the presenters, businesses have always had to disrupt themselves, but now, they must infuse their business with technology, essentially becoming technology companies themselves. They looked at how to create new revenue streams, improve customer experience, and increase operational efficiencies. And how businesses must focus less on the capabilities of specific technologies, and learn how to embrace strategic business transformations that new digital technologies make possible.



Automotive Deep-dive


The presenters took a deep-dive into the impact of mobility on the auto industry, asking whether private car ownership could disappear for the majority of UK customers by 2030 as people focus more on experiences and less on ownership. They see the auto becoming just another seamless node for consumers in their personal cloud. Another observation was how people are only prepared to pay more for connectivity/entertainment features and not for safety upgrades. However, consumers still use cars to get around as alternative forms of mobility are at an early stage. Finally, they saw a resistance to self-driving cars in mature markets, especially if they could not use them after drinking alcohol, but welcome more driver-assist functions.   


Voice of the Customer - Panel Discussion


This session, moderated by HARMAN’s Andrew Till was all about enabling peer learning between companies in Digital Transformation projects to explore some of the key challenges that companies face in roll-outs.



​The audience talked about how they identified some of the hidden challenges that only become apparent in the middle of the project.


Experts from Ladbrokes, Immediate Media and more talked about their view of the connected future. They shared trends in the industry, what is working, and how to accelerate digital transformation.


Technical Panel Session



During the second panel session, forward-thinking companies including Jaguar Land Rover, Microsoft and several others built on some of the themes which Gfk highlighted in their presentation around disruptive industry change.


The discussion revolved around how to understand key market opportunities and technology/operational challenges to exploit these opportunities over the next 3-5 years. They discussed how to gain insights into the impact that Digital Transformation has and how to compete in the future.




We used live polling to measure interest in the topics we discussed. These are the results:


  • To what extent do you agree that your business fully understands the risks and opportunities that digital transformation offers? – 57% somewhat agree
  • Do you think private car ownership will disappear for the majority of UK customers by 2030? 62% yes
  • Most companies have already begun their digital transformation journey. They just do not know it yet. 76% strongly agree or agree


Demos and showcases


Our demos gave a glimpse of how we help companies to become leaders and innovators in digital transformation. Demos included IoT security, OTA software management, Design for connected retail experiences, smart retail, smart factory, connected autos, and more.


We made magic


Fergus, one of the brightest magicians around came to entertain us while we mingled over cocktails and dinner. We did what SPARK is all about—we made magic!