There are many drivers of digital transformation. Whether we want to deliver better experiences for our customers, drive a more productive and engaged workforce, or simply improve the efficiency of our supply chain, all of these drivers are normally closely aligned to our organisation’s mission.
And it’s senior executives and board members who are required to develop and articulate that mission. Once they have done so, they can start setting out a strategy to achieve that mission and allocate resources accordingly.
But too often we see digital initiatives being advocated and spearheaded by technology teams who have their own problems to solve. Without an eye to the broader goals of what the organisation is trying to achieve, it is only human nature that they will focus their attention on tuning technology to simplify their role and reduce unnecessary workload – and there is nothing wrong with that, as every business unit should be looking for ways to be more efficient.
When digital transformation programs are driven by tech teams, they tend to become piecemeal without the lack of budgeting and investment required to achieve real transformational change. The IT manager of the day uses allocated budgets to achieve what they can for the business, but when it comes to the tech investments that will unlock a real competitive advantage, they are constrained by a lack of resources.
Solving this issue requires two things to happen:
Senior leaders need to drive technology investment decisions – Every business in this new era is now a digital business. Regardless of industry, survival is now predicated on your ability to harness new datasets and deliver seamless digital experiences.
As a senior executive or board member, you aren’t required to know the inner workings of every piece of technology of your business, but you are required to understand how they create value. This doesn’t require a new degree or countless hours of research, but it does require you to begin asking the right questions and developing a continued curiosity for the capabilities new digital technology can provided.
Tech teams need to provide frank and fearless tech advice to senior leaders – When senior leaders make large scale tech investment decisions, there is a tendency for them to overestimate the capabilities of a new implementation, or to misjudge the need to implement new technology at all.
This is where IT leaders and specialists need to offer what their public sector counterparts call “franks and fearless advice”. This means having the bravery to shoot down the claims of vendors who may have sweet talked a CEO or Chair into making a major technology purchase that could prove to be unwise.
For both of the above to happen, the relationship between senior leadership and their technology experts needs to be much closer than it is currently in many instances. While finance or HR teams may have a close working arrangement with senior leaders, leadership tends to take a hands off approach to technology.
Aside from giving your CIO a greater role in strategic decision making, CIOs also need to be empowering tech teams to think expansively about how technology can achieve more lofty business goals, besides simply reducing help desk requests. Empowered technology teams leads to more informed senior leaders, which in turn leads to the right digital transformation initiatives attracting investment.
About the author
As the Managing Director of Aryon, my team and I are here to reduce the complexity for organisations who want to take advantage of next-generation networks, infrastructure and workforce technology. If you would like to discuss how your organisation can take advantage of new digital networks, infrastructure and technology without the added stress, please feel free to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.