Three Ways by Which CIOs Can Steer Through The Digital Transformation Engine
May 14,2016

It is well known that strong leadership (and not big budgets) drives digital transformation.

And the CIOs play a critical role in the digital whirlwind of change and innovation.

A research by Forrester Consulting in 2015 reveals that more than 30% of businesses trust the CIO to drive digital initiatives.

While the modern CIOs do not need to worry about automation or discuss backend technologies; they indeed need to focus on creating a vision – a vision that will compel the organisation to achieve active digital transformation!

The Good Guy Called “CIO”…

In the digital era, the contemporary CIO has three elements to his/her credit – an unfaltering vision, strong engagement and efficient governance.

These elements together form the perfect cake for the digital conversation which turns even better with the icing called technology leadership.

Here is how it is done…

  •  Nurture The Digital Culture Within The Organisation To Champion Digital Transition

The seed to digital transformation may be sown in the C-suite but digital capabilities involve cross-functional proficiencies and practices from across the organisation. For instance, a new digital capability may involve adaptation of numbers from online sales to build more responsive offers and address customer queries promptly.

When such abilities become ingrained, a digital identity for the organisation is created. Such a digital identity indicates the massacre of conventional business models and opens doors to digital transformation. However, such a big change takes effect only when the company culture tolerates and embraces it from its every corner.

The CIO must be prepared to win over the employees flinching at adopting technology as a business enabler rather than another business function. Transparency in operations and digital education must be probed by the CIO to push digital transition in a rather traditional set-up.

  • CIO Must Focus On The “Vision Thing”

CIO Vision Thing

The pervasive influence of digitization on business is yet to reach its worth, simply because some leaders lack vision. Angela Ahrendts, CEO, Burberry attributes the digital success of the organisation to a committed vision.

Burberry, a fashion brand that is more than 150 years old leveraged the power of digital technologies to conquer customer happiness and reinvigorate its brand. Clearly, they had a vision; a vision to be the first company in the industry to go digital from end-to-end.

Digital transformation is yet to be recognised as a formal effort in a business setup. The CIO must create a compelling vision for the long term and most importantly communicate the real benefits of the change across the organisation. While greater focus is the foremost benefit of this initiative, it also helps to identify potential synergies across the functional silos and pave way to unlock value.

  • Build Strategic Partnerships To Complement Internal Capabilities

Technologies evolve constantly and even a digitally mature organisation faces gaps in capabilities with time. A research by Accenture indicates that 88% of businesses engage third-party solution vendors to complement their journey to successful digital transformation.

By partnering with third party vendors, organisations stand to benefit from enhanced skillsets, increased speed to market and better customer satisfaction. The expertise and resources of third party vendors may pervade into one or multiple internal functions and its takes a strong leader to build these strategic relationships and leverage their competence.

Digital Transformation - Internal Capabilities

Outsourced services vary based on the type of company and its core business. In any case, the CIO ensures that the third party vendors are not mere implementers but partners who add true business value in the long run.

Many business organisations are adopting some level of digital information but those attaining digital mastery foster a digital culture, win cross-functional collaboration through a robust vision and engage the right skills and capabilities.


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