Digital Transformation And The CIO: Promoting Connectivity

Posted by neil-davidson on January 18, 2019

CIO and digital transformation

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As a CIO you are continuously challenged to be forward thinking. And, more broadly speaking, investing in best-in-class solutions that optimise performance, are secure, can comply with worldwide regulations, and deliver a first class user experience.

And no one can trivialise this process, as it requires strong leadership, change management skills, the confidence to innovate, and the ability to forge close relationships with counterparts to secure full buy-in and investment.

Having a focused digital strategy has long been paramount to our professional service clients, extending far beyond the realms of IT. This brings to mind one particular client, whom, on their journey to automation, set-up various company-wide forums where all employees, juniors to senior partners, contributed ideas on automation with the tools to vote anonymously on the best and most realistic ideas. The CIO wanted to actively promote internal conversations on the premise that the best opinions came from the most junior teams, who had a hunger to change their routine, process-driven roles, and be redirected to more strategic, analytical tasks.


 

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This CIO, together with her C-suite counterparts, also held regular town-halls to discuss the direction in which the company was moving and to help everyone understand the positive aspects of innovation, encouraging employees to unite as a company whilst reducing the fear of change. She was successful in providing direction whilst accepting employee opinions so that everyone understood that the company’s desire for automation was in sync with the wider business strategy, and not for adoptions sake.

And, in our opinion, ensuring adequate insight into cloud, security or the more aggressive innovation track of automation, Blockchain or artificial intelligence whilst keeping a strong framework of controls, is paramount to turning investment into a competitive edge that can scale and drive value.

We appreciate that reaching organisational innovation and transformation targets require discipline, commitment and in the current landscape, urgency. However as CIOs you are agents of change and organisations depend upon your skills to successfully foster a culture of collaboration with a robust organisational dialogue to gather support for future technological investments.

 

'As CIOs you are agents of change and organisations depend upon your skills to successfully foster a culture of collaboration.'

 

 

A Cohesive Top-Down Dialogue

 role of the CIO

From our perspective, the global teams that agree on their long term technological initiatives, backed by the CEO and led by the CIO have been better able to accomplish their goals.

And, positioning the firm is paramount - cloud has become the dominant model, Blockchain, automation and AI are fast becoming the new technological cocktail, and professional service firms that have a collective, coherent and agile strategy have the most to gain.

Furthermore, those who begin their transformation journey from the core of their organisation and not the peripherals, will see the greatest long term value for their processes, people, clients and margins. For our clients specifically, this has often involved shifting the way the firm budgets for investments, having a laser focus on operating and capital expenditures and moving away from the idea of short-term gains to accomplishing more long-term financial targets.

The CIO’s we partner with have the power to question and challenge transition without taking the position of any other C-Level executive. Whilst the CEO will reinforce an engaging strategy to the organisation, the CIO removes barriers to entry and leads the new delivery model together with their C-Suite counterparts.

Transformation is a collective ambition. It will force the company to challenge the status quo and to keep a close eye on potential trade-off’s vs payoffs. And whilst there is huge pressure on you, as the CIO, to orchestrate the transformation, there is of course no room for complacency from any other board member. The word “emotion” comes from the Latin root to “move”, and CIOs given the emotive backing to intelligently and technologically move the company forward will improve the quality of their connections internally with employees and externally with customers alike.


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