Build the Right Digital Transformation Team  

Digital transformation is helping smart businesses reshape how they do things. Consulting firm McKinsey reports that many executives believe their companies’ current business models are becoming obsolete. Only 11% believe their business models will be economically viable through 2023, while another 64% say their companies need to build new digital processes to help them get there.  

What is digital transformation? 

Digital transformation involves using digital technologies to remake processes to become more efficient or effective. The idea is to use technology not just to replicate communication, collaboration, or an existing service into a digital form, but to use technology to transform your work into something significantly better. 

However, it’s not just about the technology. Having the right team that can see the opportunity and help drive the project and change the culture are just as vital to the success of these initiatives.  

Unfortunately, however, we continue to run into the same type of issue repeatedly. The CEO has a vision that they want to leverage technology like Microsoft 365 to drive efficiency. However, they are often passing the baton to the wrong internal leader for execution and the ball drops.  The person either does not have the right skillset or is not as passionate about the project and can easily procrastinate the initiative as there are always other competing priorities.  

CEOs do not need to worry about having an expert in the technology. That is what external partners are for that specialize in Software as a Service (SAAS).  External partners have the skills to partner with internal resources to help identify the needs, manage the project, implement the changes, and train everyone on the new way of working.  However, they need the right internal champion to make it successful.  

Here’s what you need to keep in mind: 

  • Passion – Leveraging technologies like Microsoft 365 to improve the way your teams communicate and collaborate is not as straight forward as rolling out a new word processing tool and having everyone attend a one-time training to master it. Organizations need to pilot the technology, identify how it should be configured for their organization and then train everyone on this new way of working. So having an internal leader that is excited about being a part of that new design is critical.
  • Business Savvy – Companies can rely on external partners to be the experts of the software, but this internal role needs to have a solid understanding of the business issues so they can steer the ship in defining where the top priorities are for the project.  Leveraging technologies like Microsoft 365 don’t always follow a linear roadmap. Companies should identify what their most pressing business issues are and prioritize rolling out the apps that support that aspect of the work.  Someone on the digital transformation team must have a solid understanding of the business needs and the ability to understand and discuss how digital transformation can improve business outcomes through new processes. 
  • Change Management – It’s also someone that understands how steep the learning curve is for the organization and can ensure the change management strategies support the organizational needs. They can help communicate the macro-organizational plan and ensure the proper level of training is provided to support all levels of technical competency.
  • Information Systems (Not Information Technology) Lead – We see most CEOs hand the baton to their traditional IT lead and often that skill set doesn’t match the needs of the initiative. IT departments and external Managed Service Providers (MSP) have historically been focused mostly on the infrastructure, security, and networking capabilities. They may not have the skills (or interest) to discuss business issues and help lay out a plan on how to leverage the software features most effectively. When I was at Kraft my job was to identify the business issues and to have my team develop the software to support those needs. This is the type of role we need back in our organizations.  They don’t need to develop the software anymore, but they need to help connect the dots between the business opportunities and the software that can fill that gap.  

Build the right Digital Transformation Team  

It’s been inspiring to see exceptional CIOs and their teams step up, deliver excellent work-from-home solutions, and combat the increased threat of cyber breaches. We need our technology groups to understand how to configure a safe and seamless technical infrastructure. Their role in the company is vital. 

However now we need to look at our IT roles and ensure we are supplementing them with team members that can connect the dots between the business issues and the technology to solve them. It’s time to reassess your staffing models and consider having this position be in a more elevated position with more exposure to the top levels of the business. Keep in mind traditionally IT has been a cost center to be managed not a strategic weapon to drive company successes.  

The tech leaders of today must build agile and adaptable infrastructures to deliver business transformation. There has been a notable shift in the defining aspects of the optimal CIO role since the spring of 2020, with most tech chiefs spending almost all of their time on innovation and strategic planning.   

Bottom line: Make certain your staffing models meet the needs of this new world of digital transformation. Identify the right talent with the right skills from within the company. They don’t need to be experts with a detailed understanding of the software like Microsoft 365. They can rely on knowledgeable external partners like CTC Productivity that understand the specifics of the technology, but a strong internal champion is a key piece to executing the company’s vision.  

 

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