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Digital Transformation: 7 Things CIOs Must Remember

Published on: Tuesday, November 21, 2017

CEOs across the business world are under pressure to invest in digital and make progress toward digital business. They have recognized that if their businesses are to continue to grow, they need to invest heavily in technology, sales and product innovation. This is where it becomes imperative that CIOs take an innovation-leadership role, providing their expertise to support business-outcome-based growth and build a technology base that is primed for digital transformation.

CIOs know that innovation is a key differentiator when responding to new digital business opportunities. Innovation allows companies to create greater value for customers, stay ahead of the competition, and achieve faster profitable growth. To achieve this, CIO need to start rethinking innovation, removing silos and steering the company towards more collaborative, agile, and lean methodologies.

Given that IT is usually the fulcrum of all enterprise-wide digital transformation, the CIO needs to ascertain how technology can be used to define the strategy for the company and capitalize on upcoming market opportunities. He or she needs to act as a catalyst for innovation and bring together new technologies, insights to help CEOs deliver on digital business opportunities.

CIOs need to keep the following points in mind:

  • Technology is no longer a differentiator: The alignment of digital technologies and corporate business goals is inevitable and is now instrumental in defining a company’s growth and success. The use of technology to address problems is such common place that it is no longer the differentiator it used to be. On the other hand the opposite is true; the “lack of technology” has actually become a competitive disadvantage. According to recent reports, 49% of businesses are investing heavily in digital technologies. The ones that are not will, almost inevitably, be sure to encounter serious trouble in the not so distant future.
  • Digital Transformation is not digitalization: CIOs under pressure to deliver results often make the mistake of thinking that digital transformation means embedding technology in every activity, process and product the company is involved in. This is a recipe for failure. Digital transformation should be built around business goals and strategies. The technology needs to be built around it. The purpose should always be to innovate, to reimagine current processes, to deliver better services and usher in cost efficiencies. Of course technology will be an enabler but should not be perceived as an end onto itself.
  • Make data a top company priority: Data is the new crude oil. It is the currency of the future and CIOs should ensure that they collect as much data as possible. The more data that is collected and available to the organization over a longer period of time, the sharper the insights and business intelligence that can be derived from it. These insights and intelligence are invaluable and could prove to be the difference between success and failure.
  • Transformation should be an enterprise wide approach: Burdening IT with the sole responsibility of driving business transformation will only create silos. CIOs should empower IT to collaborate with other departments to digitize their systems and address obstacles that can be solved through the effective deployment of technology. This will ensure a far wider impact across the organization and drive efficiency and revenue.
  • Give IT ‘wings’: Instead of confining IT to just operations and infrastructure roles, CIOs should allow them to be more consultative in their approach and become not just a service but a knowledge provider.
  • Transform Talent Acquisition: Talent acquisition can sometimes prove to be a long and costly process and CIOs should help HR departments by investing in tools that make the process of finding and connecting with potential talent quicker, easier and more efficient.
  • Prioritize employee-friendly processes: Change is always difficult especially for employees. As new technologies are implemented, employees who have grown familiar with tasks, resources, and routines will find it difficult to accept them and can pose some resistance. Any resistance can prove to be harmful for the business and in that context CIOs need to assess the technology solution in terms of user friendliness and ensure that employees are informed, educated and trained on the new technology before it’s implemented. That will ensure a seamless transition and ensure the business does not suffer in any way.

To conclude, CIOs must realize that digital transformation cannot take place in a silo. It needs to be a collaborative and inclusive approach which involves all departments working with each other. Failure to do so will lead to departments being in the dark about the workings of other departments. They will focus on only their department specific objectives and as a result make it difficult to achieve company-wide goals. CIOs need to build company-wide strategies and be the key driver of digital transformation so that higher levels of productivity and efficiency, which can increase revenue and decrease costs.