|Event Recap- "The CIO in the Age of Digital Transformation"
May 16, 2018: A rainy night in DC, did not stop business leaders from attending the SIMCAC event. While the traffic and hours of commute to the City Club did cause a slow start, the turnout was amazing! Impromptu conversations, about the challenges, struggles, and success stories of their organizations’ digital transformation, were shared between many of the SIMCAC members over drinks. The discussion flowed into an excellent dinner, where conversations about artificial intelligence, cloud migrations, and business process integration challenges, and upcoming technologies could be heard.
As dinner died down, all attention turned to Perter High and his experiences guiding and advising CIOs the world over in their digital transformations. He began by showing the volatility that marks today’s business world. Businesses do not stay on top for long. Gone are the days of companies dominating the S&P 500 for multiple decades. Now even the best struggle to stay for longer than one or two. Competition is arising from all around, and new technologies are directly competing with traditional business models. Everyone know about Amazon and Google, but what about the transformations occurring in non-technology-based businesses? Some of the greatest success stories are coming from those areas. Examples such as Dominoes, Capital One, H&R Block were given. Only the companies that embrace change and step boldly into the new digital world will succeed. The CIO should be a champion for the digital transformation of their organizations.
Peter showed the first step is digitization of the company’s data and processes. This is followed by digitalization where profit streams are generated from the digitized data. Finally, the new profit streams become the business model for the organization and the digital transformation is complete. This is no easy task and Peter led several discussions on the challenges that arise in this process. Often the digital literacy across the organization is insufficient to succeed. It must be increased either by acquiring people with the expertise or training the current staff. IT’s relationship with the rest of the organization also needs to change. IT should be the central nervous system of the company; acting as a bridge between departments. It should coordinate efforts and resources and be intimately familiar with the business lines. Many attendees shared their own challenges of rising to this goal.
Once an organization has transformed it must keep transforming and changing. Organizations must become agile. Speed is the new currency of the digital world. The faster you can respond to the changing world the more likely you are to succeed. Peter led several discussions around what being agile means and how to become agile. Moving to the cloud is one way to increase agility. But as many people shared, it is neither a magic bullet nor does it save money. It requires new expertise, training, and support staff. Organization must change what is valued in its employees. Learning agility, grit, and curiosity are the most important qualities to find in employees. Everything is constantly changing, and the rate of change will only increase. The organization must be made of people who can embrace change and look forward to the future.