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Kennel Club appoints new IT expert

Issue: 12/02/2021

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The Kennel Club has appointed Shan Shanthakumar as ‘interim Chief Digital Transformation Officer’.
Following a request for further information, OUR DOGS can confirm that Mr Shanthakumar started work at the KC on Monday 8 February and will report to Chief Executive, Mark Beazley. He previously worked at the British Medical Association and the Kennel Club says that he brings with him a wealth of experience in “digital transformation, IT change and delivery”. 
On the appointment, Mark Beazley Kennel Club Chief Executive commented: “I am delighted to welcome Shan to the Kennel Club. This position will be pivotal in driving further enhancements to the Kennel Club’s IT systems in the immediate and long term.”
OUR DOGS COMMENT: Whilst it is a positive step that the Kennel Club has now brought in someone who is seen to be an expert in the implementation of modern IT systems and to improve the Kennel Club’s skills in that area, it also raises a number of questions. Not everyone will be familiar with the term ‘Digital Transformation’ used in the title of the new appointee. We have identified the following definition of the term: “Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. It’s also a cultural change that requires organisations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment, and get comfortable with failure.”
If that is an accurate definition, then the person will be a great help, but hopefully the emphasis will not in future have to be on the last five words of the definition! In some ways the KC announcement on the subject raises several questions: Why is the appointment only one of an ‘interim’ nature? Who in the organisation, if anyone, will report to Mr Shanthakumar? Where does the job fit vis-a-vis the previously announced KC expert on CRM systems, Steve Conway, who was taken on in much the same way by previous Chairman Simon Luxmoore? Where does the job fit operationally vis-a-vis the KC Chief Operating Officer Jackie Easton and her operational team? It also begs the question, why has it taken the Kennel Club so long to get the message that whoever was managing the project previously appeared to be out of their depth? For a project to be so long in the planning, it beggars belief that the execution and implementation could go so badly; over four months of stress for many customers and all the staff plus reputational damage to the Kennel Club itself presents a poison chalice not only for the new digital officer but also for CEO Mark Beazley.
 No doubt answers to these questions will emerge over time, but meantime we wish Mr Shanthakumar every success in his appointment, which would appear to be long overdue and very much needed.


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