After many years of fighting the recession by cutting costs, enterprises are now entering a new frontier to tackle financial challenges. The buzzphrase digital enterprise is the new wave of things giving CIOs endless nightmares. The goal is to create added value through social networking and analysis of customer and market shifts, and to gain an edge by harnessing mobile technology, cloud technology, data and software. The purpose of the digital transformation is to help with your organization’s revenue growth, and there are studies that show a 10 percent increase in revenue with the transformation.
The traditional order of things and the need for change
For years, enterprises have been investing in websites and digital advertising in the belief that web content and social networking alike would create a new and better paradigm. Over that time, businesses have embraced building systems in functional towers, which have to be automated to benefit the business.
CIOs have been deploying numerous efforts in IT operations management, security, and prevention or minimization of risk in a bid to uphold system stability while reducing costs. Over a considerable time now, the duty of leading digital transformation has been mistakenly thought to be the duty of a number of leaders in companies, with numerous opinions relating this duty to the CEO, among others.
However, although CEOs are believed to play a part in digital vision and strategy establishment, CIOs should play a major role in coordinating the transformation process.
If you are a CIO, you know well there is a need to switch the view of your roles to a wider scope to engage direct participation in increasing the company’s revenues and shaping digital strategy as well as improving customer experience. Enterprises need to turn to connecting their systems with those of their partners, customers, and other stakeholders.
This is the time for action
Companies are more concerned over what digital transformation can do for them and their customers. As a CIO, you should look beyond the intimidating constraints of limited resources. Your focus should be on partner, supplier, and customer ecosystems that can add value to your company. You can borrow ideas from emerging and established companies and learn how to deploy them effectively for the benefit of your company.
Here are a few basics that CIOs should consider if they want to be agents for change:
- How your company can benefit.
- The extent of efforts needed to make a change.
- The need for teamwork to carry out such incentives.
- The need to establish the right culture for the necessary digital transformation.
- The fact that the company needs your guidance. (You should take the lead with confidence and dedication.)
- The efforts necessary for any substantial change to be effective.
Steps to take in digital transformation
Once you’ve decided you’re on board, here are some critical steps to take.
- Create awareness
The first step to achieving a collective goal is establishing an understanding of the basics. CIOs should create digital awareness, form digital innovation teams and create innovative opportunities through new products and services.
These approaches are important in propagating the innovation cycle and optimizing the advantage of information and technology to give the company a competitive edge.
- Articulate digital strategy
CIOs need to strategize digital transformation to go with the company’s objectives and strategy. This is possible through cross-checking your company’s technical capabilities and how this affects its operations and increasing revenue generation.
- Take the lead in technological innovation
Developing and deploying high-tech requirements is basically the responsibility of every CIO, and he or she should be in a position to execute these duties effectively and prudently. This can be effected through research, engagement with others and experimentation with the latest technologies that can be incorporated in the company’s stream.
- Analyze the operational and financial status of the company
This execution method enables not only the CIOs but also everybody else concerned to see the opportunities and their encasing risks but can overlook the risks to the potential opportunities. CIOs need to be smart here, to understand the digital processes whose costs have an “upper hand.”
- Spearhead transformation
CIOs have an obligation to play a central role in helping align the digital initiatives with the business’s goals and objectives. They should be able to find aggressive IT leaders who can effect these transformations successfully, supply them with the tools for the job, and test them hands-on to ensure they develop mastery of the new technologies.
Digital transformation is never a cakewalk, and it has challenged quite a number of companies. Many have tried and failed; others have even shied away from trying and have decided to carry on with the traditional systems.
Success in this critical step requires effort on the part of those who choose to go beyond the obstructions, to shed their traditional shell and move forward to the new digital era. Such an achievement is centered on the effective coordination of CIOs and the collective efforts of all stakeholders who have a role to play in making these changes real.
[David Chou is Chief Information and Digital Officer at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. To follow him on Twitter, click here.]