digital-transformation-patty-hatterAs companies move forward with digital transformation initiatives, organizational leaders are exploring a range of opportunities to obtain value. These include identifying new ways to reimagine the customer experience, opportunities for streamlining company processes, along with methods for revolutionizing work tasks and boosting worker productivity.

While many practitioners launch into digital by attacking the organization’s biggest pain points, ultimately, it’s important for decision-makers to use a wide lens to plot the digital strategy across the enterprise for maximum benefit. Doing so ensures that digital investments will be optimized and that digital initiatives won’t be siloed between disparate functions or business units.

Taking an integrated approach to digital is key. According to IDC, by 2018, 70% of siloed digital transformation initiatives will fail due to insufficient collaboration, integration, sourcing, or project management.

Regardless of whether a CIO has ownership for digital strategy or is helping to guide these efforts, it’s important for the CIO and IT team to orchestrate its role in digital execution with key stakeholders across the business, said Patty Hatter, SVP - Professional Services, McAfee.

“The most successful transformations are those where everyone is on the same page – both IT and business leaders – and applying their best resources towards a common set of goals,” said Hatter, an HMG Strategy 2016 Transformational CIO Award winner.

Whether the CMO, Chief Digital Officer or another executive is leading the digital charge, the CIO plays a critical role in aligning technology with business strategy. “It’s an opportunity for the CIO to bring more to the table, to marry the IT, business, and functional skill sets and to identify the opportunities from a top- and bottom-line perspective,” said Hatter.

Another critical component for successful digital execution is identifying how processes need to be designed properly. In too many cases, decision-makers attempt to bolt digital technologies on top of legacy processes that aren’t designed for digital workflows.

“New technology is great, but new technology on top of an old process doesn’t buy you much of anything,” said Hatter. “That’s where the CIOs and their teams really need to connect the dots. It’s about how the bigger pieces fit together, how your company is working with its customers and its partners and how you streamline that whole ecosystem and lifecycle,” Hatter added.

Because digital transformation also requires new skills across the enterprise, the CIO and IT team should talk to end customers as well as the company’s business partners to help determine the skills that are needed to address their needs.

It’s also important for the CIO and the IT team to stay connected with new technology developments to cultivate a firm point of view as to where markets are heading. “You want both the business and the technology team to know enough about each other’s perspectives to get on the same page and to identify the bigger opportunities that are out there,” said Hatter.

Hatter also isn’t a big fan of taking a “big bang” approach with digital transformation initiatives. “With big bang, if you try to figure it all out in a conference room instead of testing it out with customers and employees, that’s probably not a recipe for a high probability of success,” said Hatter.

Instead, she recommends taking an agile approach to testing new ideas with different lines of business.

“Digital transformation is really a journey, a learned skill,” said Hatter. “The better a company gets at it, the faster you can move and the more risks you’re able to take and succeed at.”