Digital media and technology represent potent tools for business in terms of reducing costs, increasing revenues, reaching new audiences, eliminating inefficiencies, illuminating market trends, and other areas. But while the power of data and digital technologies is proven, many businesses do not have a comprehensive digital transformation strategy. Part of this problem may be that strategies don’t grow organically out of an emphasis on web content and social networking. CIOs need to articulate a vision for a digital transformation, and act to guide it to implementation.
The CIO’s Role
Many businesses lack not only a comprehensive digital strategy, but also a clear vision of where responsibility for a digital strategy lies.
As an interface between the technical and management aspects of a company, a CIO occupies a critical role in the quest to unlock the benefits of a digital transformation. In fact, as Computer Weekly reported, a survey by Henley Management College and the British Computer Society revealed that the most valuable skills a CIO could have included the ability to build partnerships between technical managers and non-technical executives. However, the same article also lamented the fact that CIOs tend to have less influence over strategy than any other manager of equivalent level.
A Roadmap for Transformation
How does a CIO go about steering a company? First, it’s useful to understand that a transformation needs to be sold on its merits: What can it do for a company and its customers? A CIO must operate within an understanding of the entire customer, supplier, partner, and company ecosystem, and how benefits will be realized at every level – not just when it comes to technical operational efficiency.
These steps outline a roadmap for leading a company through a digital
- Define the parameters. How will the company benefit? In which aspects will the company benefit? How much effort or expense will be necessary to effect the transformation? What teams, departments, etc. within the company will be impacted, and to what extent? What ongoing support will be needed, through the transformation process and after it? All these questions need to be answered.
- Define strategy. Digital transformation isn’t a one-size-fits-all set of solutions. It needs to be designed to take into account a company’s objectives and pain points. A CIO should take a thorough account of the company’s technical capabilities as well as its needs when creating a plan of action.
- Raise awareness. CIOs should create innovation teams and introduce new products, practices, and services. This raises the digital fluency of the company and serves as a proving ground. C-level managers can witness the effects of digital optimization in action.
- Execute, analyze, revise, and execute. CIOs must be in a position to execute the development and deployment of digital initiatives – and they must also maintain a long-term awareness of how those initiatives are operating. Their role as interface between technical departments and non-technical managers allows them to continually align the digital transformation with the company’s overall goals and mission.
- Don’t just maintain – evolve. The digital transformation has already been a sea change across any number of industries, and it’s wise to assume that the digital landscape will continue to evolve. CIOs always need to be be prepared to weigh new technologies into the balance.
To learn more about how CIOs can take the lead in transforming their companies for the better, contact eXemplify today.