Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Reasons to be Cheerful: Sarah Gilchriest, President, Circus Street

NDA has always been dedicated to celebrating the digital industry and as we face an uncertain economic future, we’ll be hearing from leaders across our industry to discover what’s keeping them smiling as we enter 2023. Next up is Sarah Gilchriest, President of Circus Street.

What are you most excited about in the digital industry in 2023?

There is so much to be excited about! Every week we see another new technology and new solution from the most innovative of industries, many of them game-changers in their own right. I think that the continued development and uptake of AI and data are going to be a big story in 2023, as we see them become increasingly sophisticated and transform the way we do business.

Experience shows that some of the biggest and most successful digital startups come from periods of economic downturn – Airbnb, Slack, GroupOn – to name a few, and so I think we can look forward to seeing some exciting developments.

Why are you most positive for your business in 2023?

As we see this continued progress in the digital space, there is a definite danger of our workforce being left behind and unprepared for the jobs of tomorrow, but this comes with a big opportunity for employees to learn to use the technology at their fingertips to its full potential. That is where Circus Street can step in, and why I feel particularly positive about the role that we have to play in 2023.

We have a brilliant team with the ability to transform uncertainty about the future for our workforce into opportunity and economic growth, helping businesses to upskill their teams as adoption of technology increases.

How will the digital industry, and your company, help make life better for consumers or partners in 2023?

There is no denying that our world is increasingly more digital – the pandemic has intensified the speed at which our adoption of digital solutions was already happening. Customers expect a more instant and more personalised service as a result, and companies that can’t keep up are going to fall by the wayside.

But the problem is that too few of our workers have the skills required to allow them to keep pace with these changes. At Circus Street, we can help businesses to digitally upskill their team and make sure that they are able to take advantage of the technology available to them to best support consumers in 2023.

What technologies have you been most impressed with this year and which will have the most impact in 2023?

We’ve experienced some amazing emerging tech trends over the past year. The AI advancements we have seen, for example, are so exciting and have huge potential to have more of an impact in 2023. For a number of years we have seen an increasing number of companies adopting AI systems to optimise customer service, design self-sufficient solutions and improve their competitive position in the market, and it has for some time been hailed as a leading technology disruptor.

But now we are seeing adaptive AI systems that go one step further, able to use a flexible and continuously enriched approach, meaning the system can learn from changes as they occur. Related technologies like AI chatbots are actually starting to achieve human-like behaviour, which is incredible, as they become able to more quickly and efficiently act on consumer needs, even anticipating what they may want. We need to make sure our workforce are primed to capitalise on this technological progress.

What, if any, positive impacts on the digital industry could an economic downturn have?

It could be the opportunity that forces us to close the digital skills gap that is a real problem in our economy at the moment. Focusing on upskilling your existing workforce is a cost effective way for businesses to adapt to manage the challenge of a downturn, and can result in a highly trained team with cutting edge skills.

A flood of investment into such skills will really position the digital industry for success going forwards, allowing more innovation and creativity with a newly trained up workforce.