As legacy companies transition to a cloud-first world, active leadership of visionary chief information officers (CIOs) will be critical to the success of digital transformations.
Such digital transformation is more than a shift in the specific uses of new technologies — it is also a shift in the mindset around the change, especially for CIOs, who must act in new ways. Specifically, today’s cloud-first tech offers rich sources of information that allow companies to make better, faster decisions; the CIO is the gatekeeper for both this technology and the new information that comes with it.
In light of this role as gatekeeper and its growing importance, hiring a visionary CIO to drive digital transformation is critical for organizations. This CIO will be charged with guiding strategic decision-making to maximize value from the new tech and new information on hand. This article offers my tips for achieving the greatest success with your company’s digital transformation.
First, find the right CIO and give them a seat at the table.
Companies can’t get into the cloud fast enough, as cloud is the newest modality to accelerate business. In order to get into the cloud as fast and as well as possible, placing a CIO at the epicenter of the process is necessary.
Not just any CIO will do, though. Typically speaking, there are three types of CIOs: functional, technical and visionary. For an organization undertaking digital transformation, hiring a visionary CIO is a key inflection point for your organization. If your CIO traditionally has served in a more functional role, like that of a “plumber,” fixing tech that’s broken, that CIO may not be the right type of person to lead sweeping digital change. A visionary CIO will view digital transformation and cloud tech as critical components of a company’s strategic plan for growth and revenue generation. For continued success, the role of the CIO can’t be viewed simply as fixing what’s broken; it’s ushering in a whole new cloud paradigm that fills more than one specific role, and that requires vision to execute from a decision-making seat at the executive table.
Thus, the CIO of your company’s future must be a true executive business partner with a leadership voice. This visionary CIO serves as a key part of the executive team and is charged with making major decisions that leapfrog your organization to success and continued growth for many years to come. Cloud must be part of that for any business seeking to grow.
Next, empower the CIO to implement an integrated solution.
When it comes to digital transformation, companies are often looking to solve the maximum number of problems with one integrated solution. Taking a “solving-one-problem-at-a-time” approach is a vestige of a legacy-systems mindset. If organizations take that approach, their transformation will be both too slow and too piecemeal to be effective.
Digital assets, such as tools that streamline communications and collaboration, are often the only way to do business better, faster and cheaper today; a CIO’s mandate is to support their business in achieving those goals. There are massive platforms out there that can support businesses in achieving all of these goals within one piece of cloud tech.
A mistake I’ve seen large companies and their nonvisionary CIOs make is solving problems in silos, choosing different, nonintegrated systems for different departments or needs. That approach simply doesn’t make sense in a cloud-first world.
At every step of the digital transformation journey, the visionary CIO and the decision-making team must keep their eyes on the prize: fully integrated cloud-first tech solutions as a source of rich information — information that is only as valuable as its accessibility through a unified system. Embracing existing innovation and choosing a consolidated platform is not only better, faster and cheaper — it’s also the only way fully to support the worthy end goals of revenue generation, customer and supply chain satisfaction, and employee productivity.
Finally, remember that digital transformation is holistic, intended to serve both customers and employees.
Often times, the need to improve call center flow is what pushes companies to seek digital transformation to an integrated, cloud-first solution. A recent survey conducted by RingCentral and CITE Research offers data reflecting just how much customers disdain repeating themselves to multiple representatives in order to have their concerns addressed. Such disjointed communication paths drive 41% of consumers to stop using a company’s product or service altogether.
It’s not just customers who are frustrated when tech tools are inadequate, though. Out of the employees surveyed, 75% feel stressed when they can’t collaborate effectively with co-workers to solve a customer issue, hindering them from serving customers as well as they’d like.
The survey showed 54% of workers believe ineffective technology makes them less productive.
These statistics may not seem like primary concerns for a CIO, but they are. A visionary CIO’s job is to make sure that a company’s systems support the goals of revenue generation, customer and supply chain satisfaction and employee productivity. The latter two go hand in hand.
Customers want to be met where they are, on whatever communications channel they choose to use and on whatever device they choose to use. Employees seek to respond just as easily on a single platform that has tools at their fingertips for collaboration with co-workers and the necessary resources to serve customers as a one-stop-shop.
Streamlined communication and collaboration technology serves both customers and employees better, leading to more satisfaction all around. Needless to say, more satisfied customers and employees are better for any business’s bottom line.
Digital transformation yields immediate and lasting results for companies. In addition to the cloud-first world, offering new sources of integrated information, communications and collaboration become much easier for customers and your internal organization.
Being a digital-immigrant to a cloud-first world may seem daunting at first. Ensuring that you have a visionary CIO steering digital transformation will yield the best results for your company. For better, faster and cheaper — and for revenue generation, employee productivity, customer and supply chain satisfaction, the time to get in the cloud is now.
This article appeared first on Forbes.