CIO strategies for digital transformation

digital transformation by Accenture
The world is evolving at an increasing pace and CIOs need a strategy to stay competitive in a globalized market.

Digitalization is not only a trend, but has slowly become a core principle for successful enterprises. Today, whether the enterprise is big or small, CIOs understand that they need to efficiently exploit digital platforms throughout all aspects of their businesses to survive and flourish. If they fail to keep-up with the digitization, it will have a negative effect on their ability to deliver a customer experience that resonates with the modern lifestyle.

ALSO READ: IDC report on Digital Transformation

International Data Corporation (IDC) report on digital transformation says digital initiatives will more than double from 20 percent to 50 percent by 2020. In addition, the report made the following predictions about companies for 2017:

Two-thirds of the CEOs of the G2000 (Global 2000 Companies) will have digital transformation at the center of their corporate strategy.

60 percent of companies with a digital transformation strategy will create an independent corporate executive position to oversee the implementation of the strategy.

In the current scenario, CIOs must take the lead to effectively implement a digital transformation strategy within their enterprise. To succeed, they must have a progressive approach and rethink all aspects of their business.  They need to come up with innovative strategies to harness the full capability of digital transformation. Here are a few suggested strategies CIOs can employ to focus on digital transformation:

Have a strong vision for the end result: CIOs must have a clear vision of what they are seeking through the digital transformation initiative, and need to work towards executing their plans in a fashion that ensures they reach their targets. Additionally, the vision must be shared with all stakeholders to execute the plans in a cohesive and effective manner.

Build consensus at the executive level: To have the best results, digital transformation initiatives must be implemented across the company and not in only one department. This requires strong collaboration and approval by all company leaders. Finding consensus among the company leaders about digital transformation can be taxing, but this is the duty of the CIO. The CIO should be well-versed with the pros and cons of going ahead with digital transformation and should be able to convince everyone to support the initiative. The CIO should anticipate objections and resolve all doubts, bringing all company leaders to a consensus.

Lead from the front, but engage with all: One of the most basic but crucial responsibilities of the CIO is to lead from the front and understand the challenges across the organization. Once the challenges are identified, CIOs must engage with everyone across the organization and devise a strategy that includes all digital initiatives to be implemented. Engagement with all department heads ensures that the strategy is being implemented across the organization in an efficient manner.

Be flexible and open: A CIO who is leading the digital transformation strategy for their company must be ready to take drastic steps to keep pace with the targets. At times, this might appear as a risk but will reap great results after. A CIO must be ready to learn new things in the process. At times, the best suggestions can come from someone lower in the hierarchy, with little experience. CIOs should be open to suggestions and take them for the betterment of the company.

Create infrastructure: For the effective implementation of a digital strategy, organizations need to have a proper infrastructure in place. The CIO should work towards creating an infrastructure that is flexible and easy to scale according changing demands. Legacy systems must be replaced by highly scalable and flexible infrastructure that can make the creation of digital services an easy task.

Outsource certain functions: There is a strong need for CIOs to understand which capabilities they possess in-house and which they are lacking. If there are skills the CIO and team lack, hire someone to fill in the gaps or outsource for better results. There are many third-party vendors in the market who can help in the effective roll-out of a digital strategy.

Invest in training and development: A proactive approach towards training and development is required. CIOs must identify the skill gaps in the organization’s talent and provide for continued training and development to the existing resources.  Strong resources are always an advantage for an organization.

Digital transformation is going be crucial for all organizations in terms of long-term business strategy and success. Therefore, Alepo – an award-winning global provider of core network and IT software solutions for communications service providers offers digital transformation solutions, enabling communication service providers to become digital service providers.

Vani Manian, technical director – APAC, Alepo Technologies