Digital Transformation News BlockIf digital transformation isn’t at the core of your organization’s business strategy, it should be. As a growing volume of consumers and other businesses increase their use of digital channels to conduct research on products and services and to complete transactions, digital business opportunities are skyrocketing for enterprises across vertical industries.

According to an Accenture study, 58% of businesses now look to digital to help them sell profitably. Still, many enterprises have miles to go in their digital maturity journeys. The same study found that just 26% of companies are 'completely ready' to execute on digital business strategies.

Meanwhile, a separate study of 422 business executives conducted by YouGov on behalf of Appian found that while business leaders are aware of the need for digital transformation, only 14% have 'fully migrated' to all intended areas of their digital transformation plans.

Part of the challenge facing enterprises is that many non-technical business leaders don’t know where to begin in launching digital business strategies due to their lack of familiarity with digital tools and their capabilities.

The CIO is well-positioned to help the C-suite paint a vision for digital strategies, starting with a broad brush and identifying key goals (e.g. driving greater online revenue with customers). These tactics should include discussions about what the company’s short and long-term digital goals should be and how they need to be aligned with the organization’s short and long-term business objectives.

Thanks to their knowledge with digital tools and their capabilities, the CIO is also perfectly situated to help the enterprise to develop a digital roadmap, including the tools, people/skills, and processes that are needed to execute effectively on digital business strategies.

While selecting the right tools to meet organizational objectives is essential, it’s equally important to develop and recruit people with the right skill sets to enable the organization to succeed in its digital efforts. By leveraging their view across the various functions and  business units across the enterprise and how they interoperate with one another, the CIO can work with HR and business/functional leaders to identify the types of skill sets that are needed to help different parts of the enterprise execute on its goals.

For instance, if a company’s goal is to grow its customer base and revenues, the CIO can work with organizational leaders to identify the types of digital marketing skills that are needed to help attract targeted customer segments.

The CIO also plays a critical role in forging partnerships with the right third-party providers that can add value to the organization’s digital business strategy. Enterprises can’t execute on digital business strategies by themselves. The CIO needs to act with courageous leadership to identify those partners that share a vision for the company’s digital future while meshing with its digital roadmap.

Once the enterprise has installed the building blocks for digital business, companies also must apply the right metrics and measurements to gauge how effectively the organization is executing on digital business strategies. Since customers often use multiple touchpoints to conduct research and make decisions for purchasing a product or service, measurements should include the impact of customer engagement across multiple channels.

The CIO should also ensure that senior executives are receiving regular updates on the progress of digital business initiatives. This can include the use of dashboards and other tools that can be used to provide senior executives with timely reports that contain key performance indicators.

For CIOs, their roles in driving digital business strategies is about identifying and executing on ways that they can deliver value to the enterprise. “You cannot be a conventional CIO anymore,” says Dr. Ashwin Ballal, former Vice President & Chief Information, Intelligence & Data Officer at KLA-Tencor in an HMG Strategy Transformational CIO blog post. “Today, every company is striving to become a digital company.  It’s a huge transformation, and CIOs are expected to provide real leadership. Anyone can be a leader in good times. The true test of leadership comes during uncertain times.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Just 26% of companies are ‘completely ready’ to executive on digital business strategies, according to Accenture.
  • Thanks to their familiarity with digital tools and their capabilities, the CIO is well-positioned to help the enterprise develop a digital roadmap, including the tools, people/skills, and processes that are needed to execute effectively on digital business strategies.
  • The CIO also needs to act with courageous leadership to identify technology partners that share a vision for the company’s digital future while meshing with its digital roadmap.