3 Must-Follow Steps for Digital Transformation Success

by Dave Sutton May 5, 2016
May 5, 2016

Organizations that anticipate universal changes instead of reacting to individual ones will double their probability of success, according to a recent CEB Survey, further reinforcing the importance of developing a change capable organization.

This same concept applies to the digital world.

Digital should no longer supplement business strategy; it should be integrated into every aspect of a company.

The reality is that digital and continual advancement of technologies are fundamentally shifting the competitive landscape. Not surprisingly, the number of professionals in Chief Digital Officer (CDO) roles has doubled over the last year and is expected to keep growing in order to facilitate this massive transformation. CDOs are now considered “transformers in chief”, charged with fostering innovation, maximizing the potential impact of new technologies, and anticipating and managing comprehensive changes so their organization can successfully transition to digital.

The most disrupted industries

Russell Reynolds Survey asked more than 2,000 C-level executives whether their business would be moderately or massively disrupted by digital in the next 12 months.

Media was ranked the most disrupted industry, followed by telecoms and consumer financial services.

Embrace the potential of Digital

According to Harvard Business Review (HBR), in order to realize the potential of new digital technologies, organizations must hire the right people, foster a data-driven culture, and fully commit to becoming a more digitally adept organization.

1. Hire the right people

One of the biggest challenges companies are facing when it comes to adopting and implementing a digital strategy is finding the right talent, specifically hiring catalytic talent in the right position. According to a recent Russell Reynolds Survey, almost 50 percent of the companies believe they don’t have the right professionals to define their digital strategy.

In order to succeed, organizations must bring in a CDO that disrupts the traditional thinking and current business model. According to the Mckinsey article ‘Transformer in chief’: The new chief digital officer, a successful CDO leads transformation and articulates a strategic vision by identifying the root causes of business problems through a combination of hard and soft skills. They leverage their skills to overcome organizational inertia and drive enterprise-wide digital transformation and innovation.

The Russell Reynolds Survey demonstrates that this new generation of digital executives consistently scores higher across five broad areas: innovative, disruptive, social adeptness, bold leadership, and determination.

2. Foster data-driven culture

We can’t talk about digital without also mentioning its lifeblood: data. Data helps marketers move beyond mere hypothesis about their customers and gain a deeper understanding of the customers’ journey through each touchpoint.

Digital capabilities ultimately provide an important foundation for improving the customer experience. It is critical to apply analysis and start thinking more intentionally about the customer, keeping this crucial question in mind: “How will this change affect the customer?”

3. Commit to becoming a more digitally adept organization

It’s imperative to unleash a “spirit of digital” throughout your entire organization. CDOs must inject speed into processes, set aggressive goals, automate existing development processes, and establish flexible budgets, with the goal of obtaining necessary resources to scale the most important projects quickly and efficiently. Many organizations are employing the use of internal hackathons to inspire collaboration and identify which ideas are worthy of investing company resources to build.

“Digital isn’t merely a thing – it’s a new way of doing things. Many companies are focused on developing a digital strategy when they should instead focus on integrating digital into all aspects of the business.”
– ‘Transformer in chief’, McKinsey

Ninety percent of top performers have fully integrated digital initiatives into their strategic-planning process. CDOs must work closely with the CEO, CIO, CFO and business-unit leaders to be an active shaper of the company strategy, and be committed to executing a bold vision by starting new businesses, acquiring technologies, or investing in innovations.

“For the leaders who are anticipating massive digital disruption in their industries, these three levers are the key to realizing the potential that lies ahead.”
– Rhys Grossman, Russell Reynolds Associates

For the organizations that want to withhold a strong position, hiring the right talent to lead the change, creating a culture that makes data-based decisions, and fully committing to transforming to a digitally adept organization are the three levers to stay ahead.

To learn more about how you can stay ahead in your industry, download our new ebook TRANSFORMATIONAL MARKETING: Moving to the TopRight.

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