Digital Transformation in 2019: How to Scale It

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Digital Transformation in 2019: How to Scale It

Digital transformation is no longer a buzzword. It’s now an enterprise reality and becoming an important part of everyday life in many businesses. However, companies are having a tough time scaling it to meet their needs.

That’s the word from Gartner, based on its 2019 Gartner CIO Agenda survey of more than 3,000 CIOs in 89 countries and all major industries which represent around $15 trillion in revenue and public-sector budgets and $284 billion in IT spending.

The report found “that digital business reached a tipping point this year. Forty-nine percent of CIOs report their enterprises have already changed their business models or are in the process of changing them.”


Digital business reached a tipping point this year. 49% of CIOs report their enterprises have already changed their business models or are in the process of changing them.

Andy Rowsell-Jones, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, explains, “What we see here is a milestone in the transition to the third era of IT, the digital era…Today, 20 years after we launched the first CIO Agenda survey, digital initiatives, along with growth, are the top priorities for CIOs in 2019. Digital has become mainstream.”

It may have become mainstream, but the survey found that enterprises are not nearly as far along as they need be to scale up their digital transformations, with only 33 percent of respondents worldwide reporting they’ve been able to do it so far. Rowsell-Jones said, “Last year, I said that CIOs must start scaling their digital business. They excelled. This year, they have to take it one step further and put their growing digital business on a stable and secure base.”


The survey found that only 33% of enterprise respondents reported that they've been able to accomplish digital transformation.

That’s easier said than done, though. So how can enterprises do it? Wolfgang Bauriedel, executive director at Russell Reynolds Associates Inc. offers advice in an interview with SearchCIO done at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium.

Bauriedel says enterprises looking to scale their digital transformation should take four important steps. First is to “create internal alliances and alignment around your digital journey, because you cannot do it alone as a CIO. You need to have a broad backing, particularly by the business executives and your peers in the business.”

Next, he says, CIOs must master the architectural challenge to transform their back-office IT “into something which resembles a very modular, API-driven, microservice-driven architecture so I can adopt and change and be flexible around some of the future applications I develop.”

Third, he says, enterprises need to upgrade the talent in their organizations. He explains, “The difference between an average digital talent and a good one is 100 times. Make sure that you have the right people in your organization.”

And finally, collaboration is key, especially between IT and business units. He concludes, “Take the agile and DevOps methodology to heart so that you can cross-functionally and multidisciplinary create your services and offerings together.”

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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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