Speed Digital Transformation – Advice for CIOs

Only half of all companies have been able to speed digital transformation despite substantial investment. Read how to succeed.

Only half of all companies have been able to speed digital transformation despite substantial investment. Read how to succeed.

Digitally transforming a business is a lot easier said than done. Most enterprises give it lip service, but few do it the right way. That’s borne out by a study from Wipro Digital, which found only half of all companies have been able to speed digital transformation strategies, despite substantial investments and efforts.

How bad is it? The report said that only 4% of companies get back even half of their digital investment in less than a year.  A majority of those interviewed say it’s taken them two to three years to get back half of their investment. Among the problems holding back digital transformation, the report found, are that 25% senior executives “secretly believe that digital transformation projects in their company are a waste of time.” And 35% of executives say lack of a clear transformation strategy is at fault.

But smart companies can do it right. A Gartner report, “Survey Analysis: How CTOs Can Enable Digital Business Transformation” offers great advice for companies on how to get it done. The report starts out by noting that CIOs can’t do it alone, and need the help of CTOs, who can become the key drivers for the transformation. The good news, according to the survey: “Sixty-five percent of CTOs are already involved in some type of technology innovation activity.”

The report says that CTOs can play a key role in all aspects of a five-stage process working towards digital transformation. The first stage, Ambition, generates interest and excitement about a digital transformation, and determines “the scope of work and the overall strategic focus in becoming a digital business.” CTOs can help in this phase by providing the CIO and others with a “relevant set of emerging technology and technology innovation use cases.” That can include sponsoring an internal IT review of useful disruptive technologies, sponsoring an internal trade show or tech forum, and putting together existing examples of digital businesses that can be used for inspiration or models.

In the next stage, Design, CTOs can help build prototypes that will help transform the business, focusing on using technologies including sensors, mobility, location awareness, and advanced analytics. This serves as a spur to innovation, and a model that can expanded upon.

In the third stage, Delivery, CTOs should help determine the tools that will be used to build new technologies, such as project and portfolio management (PPM) tools, roadmapping tools, and enterprise architecture tools.

CTOs are central to the fourth stage, Scale. According to the report, in this stage, the  “CTOs’ top three responsibilities involve the expertise needed to scale: technology infrastructure modernization, technology operational management and technology innovation.”

In the final stage, Refine, there’s a tipping point, and the business becomes a digital one. In this stage, CTOs need to make sure their organization can “respond quickly to disruptions in the market.” That means creating technology innovation programs, modernizing the technology infrastructure, building new technical skills in the company, and more.

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