Worldwide, companies spend billions of dollars each year on digital transformation programs.
Successful digital transformation can help companies stay relevant, drive revenue and aid expansion. Investment in digital transformation can be hugely worthwhile, and many businesses already have successful digital transformation strategies in place. However, some companies are being left behind.
Failing to put in place new technologies or digital transformation strategies can result in huge losses. It could even result in total business collapse.
Getting digital transformation right begins with who is leading digital transformation at your company.
To ensure your digital transformation is a success, you must consider the project aims. Then, ensure that whoever is leading the program has the tools to make it a success. But the best person for the job may not be who you think.
Read on to find who should be leading your digital transformation and why.
With so much of a business relying on digital assets and processes, it's no surprise that IT has become a central focus for business leaders.
When digital and automated processes began to infiltrate all levels of a business, it was seen as a great way to speed up long tasks. IT was seen as a support system to help things run smoothly. However, with leaps forward in technology, IT is no longer a support function but a central turning point on which all businesses now rely.
IT departments no longer spend time recovering lost files, setting up new email addresses and fixing broken printers. IT teams are responsible for a range of crucial activities, including:
Being head of the IT department has consequently shifted from a middle management position to a board-level Chief Information Officer (CIO) position. It's the CIOs role to ensure all data and technology are appropriate for the business function and working efficiently.
Because of the role's proximity to the IT department, CIOs often lead digital transformation within a business. While the CIO should be heavily involved in digital transformation, they may not be the best person to lead.
Many companies that let the CIO lead digital transformation end up with newer, more modern technology and nothing else. CIOs work on a technological level to source and implement new technology and ensure it integrates with existing structures.
However, they are not best placed to examine a business's operating model and make high-level changes. A CIO trying to implement changes of this nature almost always results in failure and blame. Digital transformation should overhaul and revolutionize the way a business operates.
With a CIO focused on the digital aspect, the overall digital transformation will undoubtedly fail. So, while a CIO should be kept in the loop, they are not digital transformation leaders.
Digital transformation requires a framework to help implement and execute changes as part of a wider strategy. With so much riding on the success of digital transformation, creating an effective strategy for the company's future is crucial.
Digital transformation is about more than IT issues. It's about every person that works at the company and impacts everyone from investors to board members to customers. Digital transformation can lead a company into a new future, and it often falls to the CEO to lead digital transformation projects.
The aims of digital transformation overlap with the role of a CEO:
Because of the similarities between the CEO role and digital transformation, some CEOs see these projects as their responsibility.
Both CEOs and digital transformation programs focus on the business as a whole. But CEOs often fail to see the details of a business's daily activities. They may not appreciate the impact of their decisions because they focus on the big picture of the company brand.
This means small details can slip through the cracks. Within the digital transformation sphere, these small details can reveal underlying issues. It may result in total project failure. Most CEOs who take the time to understand digital transformation's detail and technical elements lose track of other areas of the business.
A CEO that spends too much time focused on digital transformation and not on the day-to-day running of the business may find no business left at the end. Not only will digital transformation fail, but the entire company could shut down.
So, who should be running digital transformation projects if the CIO is too focused on the technical and the CEO is too focused on the big picture?
Many turn to a specialist digital transformation company (DTC). This is a great step towards improving the chances of digital transformation success. It can seem difficult to hand “the keys to the kingdom” over to an outside firm - this is where digital transformation specialists such as Uniaspect Digital come in.
A DTC, or consulting agency can work with the CIO and CEO roles to ensure the transformation is successful. As a middleman, they will ensure the project doesn't fail because of common shortcomings of either position. A DTC can work with your in-house capabilities and bring their own resources to increase the chances of success. The main benefits of hiring a DTC are:
A DTC can act as the bridge between the CEO's aim and the technicalities of the CIO role. DTCs have experience ensuring everyone is happy and leading digital transformation to a successful end.
DTCs take on the full-time role of leading digital transformation, so CIOs and CEOs with existing full-time positions don't have to. Working with an external team of experts means getting results faster. For many, it's a relief knowing that the pressure of navigating digital transformation is in the hands of professionals.
However, does the DTC understand the competing considerations that underlie your business decisions? At Uniaspect we develop and execute strategies that deliver sustainable transformation, in an accelerated time frame, always striking a balance between short-term and long-term goals. Our teams are enabled by extensive libraries of tools, code, reference data and other custom-developed proprietary tools and methodologies. We combine visualization platforms for both analysis and presentation. These tools bring clients and their counsel closer to the data to develop an intuitive feel for analysis results. Our solutions are never cookie-cutter. Rather, they are tailored, actionable, and always supported by deep data insights and analytics. Simply put, we bring a unique “get things done” style to your organization with a focus on delivering successful results.
The first step in ensuring a digital transformation program is a success is to ensure the entire project rests on the shoulders of people that are up to the task and making sure they’re delivering on what they promised. Who is leading digital transformation is as important as the project's aims. Neither the CIO nor the CEO has the range of skills to lead a digital transformation confidently.
Visit this digital transformation roadmap to learn how you can help ensure the success of your digital transformation.