CTOs and CIOs’ roles have evolved dramatically over the last few years, due to the growing digitalization of virtually every industry. The tech leaders evolved from being merely technology facilitators and advisors to now holding a significant decision-making position and key responsibilities in Cyber Security, Human Resource Management, and Digital Transformation led business strategies in the organizations. CTOs and CIOs are expected to lead every transformation project as businesses cope with the dynamic technological revolutions required in the post-pandemic era. They now collaborate with the CEO to help translate the company’s growth strategy into a measurable solution.

Today, however, CTOs and CIOs are now in charge of creating new business models, streamlining communication, integrating teams in silos, and digitizing products. Therefore, to embrace digital transformation, a business must be receptive to cultural change, which must begin with the CEOs, CTOs, & CIOs.

In the report published by The IBM Institute for Business Value on The CTO Revelation, Moises Nascimento, CTO, Banco Itaú says “When everything becomes digital, technology becomes the core business and the CTO becomes as key as the CEO.”

In this blog, we will attempt to give an overview and offer a guide to successfully creating a digital transformation strategy for CEOs, CIOs, and CTOs. But before we move further, let’s take a look at what digital transformation is and why it is important.

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation is the staged, strategic and intelligent integration of digital technologies, processes, and competencies across all levels and functions to affect foundational, cultural, organizational, and operational change in an organization, industry, or ecosystem to how businesses operate and how they deliver value to customers.

Digital transformation (also known as DX or DT) is predominantly used in a business context. Dx is a process that uses technology to produce value and new services for a variety of stakeholders to innovate, and gain the ability to quickly adapt to changing conditions. Furthermore, these emerging technologies can also have a direct impact on organizations such as public administrations, governments, and non-profits that are tackling global issues such as pollution and the ageing population by leveraging one or more of these technologies.

Why is digital transformation important?

A business may undertake digital transformation for a variety of reasons. One of the most likely reason is that they must: It’s a question of survival. In a fast-changing global environment, an organization’s ability to quickly adapt through the adoption of new technology is critical to remaining competitive. Businesses that embrace digital transformation, their focus is on engaging their customers across multiple channels with delightful experiences. Those that aren’t may find themselves lagging behind.

Digital transformation plays a vital role in:

Customer experience: Today’s consumers have more options than ever before. As a result, the stakes are high for businesses to create meaningful interactions and experiences that satisfy customers and foster brand loyalty in addition to new products or services. The factors that determine which company you choose are directly tied to the company’s digital transformation, whether it’s an easy-to-use app, seamless transactions, good customer service, or fast delivery.

Employee experience: Digital transformation is about establishing a simple, modern, and more fulfilling employee experience for your employees, not merely giving them the latest apps and devices.

Process optimization: Delivering great employee and customer experiences will ultimately depend on an organization’s ability to seamlessly operate on the backend. Organizations can achieve efficiency by streamlining workflows, digitizing processes, and automating tasks.

Product digitization: Digital transformation is not only vital for companies to stay on top of technological advances, but it also allows them to build an agile infrastructure that is required to constantly innovate and adapt to rapid change and consumer expectations.

Jean-Pierre Lacroix -Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations tweets the importance of digital transformation strategy in playing a critical role in protecting peacekeepers.

Today, digital transformation is the focal point of the organization’s innovation and operational efficiency. In every industry, change is happening at a faster pace than ever before. CEOs, CIOs, and CTOs are feeling the pressure, but they also recognize the opportunity for their entire organization. Leading companies in enterprise technology are doubling down on their tech investments and adopting Digital Transformation Strategy to embark on digital journeys.

What is a Digital Transformation Strategy?

A Digital Transformation Strategy is a plan of action that outlines how a business should reposition itself strategically in the digital economy. Businesses that are successful, change their operations as their customers’ habits change. They adapt to changing operating and commercial models and take advantage of new technology.

Most CEOs, CIOs, and CTOs who are looking to advance their digital journeys may find the question overwhelming. A robust strategy for digital transformation calls for a fundamental change in the organization’s culture and processes.

Developing a digital transformation strategy is critical because it guarantees that key business objectives are met in a meaningful, quantifiable, and coordinated manner. Any business department or team can participate in digital transformation initiatives, but only a well-coordinated and strategic initiative will move the needle for the business.

The Guide to Developing a Digital Transformation Strategy

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There is no single answer to the recipe for what a business should adopt for a successful business transformation. Some ingredients can help more than others for some businesses. Following are some useful pointers to assist you in developing an effective DT plan that will help your business thrive and boost ROI.

Analyze the present situation: Knowing where your business stands presently is always beneficial. It aids in the planning and reflection of potential weaknesses and strengths. Having a clear problem statement analyzing the culture of the company, their transparency and openness will help as well.

This assessment should look at opportunities for technology deployment in your company as well as its restrictions. This should include a comparison of your digital contribution to your firm and your competitors. This assessment should include some of the following activities such as SWOT analysis, competitor analysis, digital channel performance and audience personas. The insights gained can aid in planning ahead as management seeks to build more advanced digital dexterity.

Align objectives with business goals: Part of the issue with digital transformation is that it implies different things to different people in different parts of the business sector and beyond. Business leaders frequently feel that digital transformation begins with breakthrough technology, but then why is unclear. This is a retrograde technique that almost always ends in failure.

“Alignment is the most important step to a successful transformation, and it needs to be supported from the top down,” says Bernie Gracy, the chief digital officer at Agero.

To create a successful business transformation plan, first, determine your core business goals and needs, then frame your digital transformation strategy around those goals and needs.

Barry Brunsman, a principal with KPMG’s CIO Advisory, highlights aligning IT investments and capabilities with your specific business priorities and needs is vital for expediting your Digital Transformation journey

To kick start your digital transformation strategy plan, you must first understand what digital transformation is and how it relates to your company’s values, goals, and objectives. Digital transformation strategically positions your business to accomplish desired outcomes, starting with your goals and business priorities to lay the groundwork for your digital transformation.

Prepare your organization for a cultural shift : Digital transformation is a critical component of the cultural shift that every firm will experience over time. Human capability, not technology, is at the center of any digital revolution. It’s natural for people to be critical of change and reject it. As a result, you must be ready to deal with these problems as they emerge.

Develop a team mindset with individuals from across the value chain, including design, marketing, sales, OT, IT, and more. These provide a solid foundation for implementing the techniques that will help you succeed. You will achieve more if you have an exceptional team of cheerleaders who understand the objective of an organization’s digital transformation.

Run pilot tests: Understanding that numerous existing processes may need to be fully rebuilt to comply with the developed digital strategy will be beneficial. Before moving further with any design feature, proofs of concept and pilot runs are essential.

Determine both obvious and obscure stakeholder groupings. Some groups may go unnoticed at first, yet they are critical to the success of your digital transformation project. Being practical and including various stakeholder touchpoints in the plan to ensure transparency is vital. Before implementing or moving forward with any actual plan, spending time performing proofs-of-concept and pilots will add to its success.

Prioritize digital initiatives: The scope, resources, and ROI of any digital endeavor will vary. Prioritize your projects according to their value, impact, and expected effort. To assess the potential of your digital solution, start with small initiatives that simply incorporate the most important components of your digital solution.

Investing in the right technology : Examine your current infrastructure and make necessary adjustments in light of upcoming developments. Various solutions can help you with your digital transformation, but you’ll need to make a lot of decisions. To prevent wasting time and money, you should carefully select the technology that best meets your needs. Before you invest in new technology, be sure it matches with your objectives and solves a gap in your company.

Make a delivery strategy : Each digital initiative should have a roadmap, resource requirements, and measurement criteria in the delivery plan. Before commencing the development stage, have a clear plan, establish standard practices for your entire organization by identifying all development and delivery procedures.

Measure and adjust : After you’ve put your plan into action, it’s time to evaluate the results. Keep in mind that the digital transformation process is a never ending and ongoing process. Take a step back, examine the analytics, and assess the impact before making any adjustments. Your approach must be updated to reflect new market trends and conditions.

Develop a budget plan : Budget constraints are the most common reason for digital transformation failures. When you create your budget, factor in potential delays and technology changes that may render current investments obsolete.

Risk management: Disrupting business models and processes is what digital transformation is all about. The goal is to scale new technologies and provide more value for everyone. Hence, businesses that are skilled at managing risks and establishing risk management strategies will be able to find success with their programs.

In conclusion

Preparing for a digital transformation strategy entails addressing the prerequisites. You can ensure that your firm undergoes digital transition as smoothly as possible by developing an effective, clear, and comprehensive digital transformation strategy. A digital transformation strategy is like a customized road map for making significant changes to your specific company’s operations. It necessitates a significant financial investment, as well as time and technical knowledge. To avoid risks, it’s always a good idea to have highly skilled and experienced technical leaders leading your teams.

Is your business prepared to begin its Digital Transformation journey?

Reach out to us if you’re seeking a team of experts to assist your company with digital transformation. Sparity has worked with a variety of companies in a variety of industries to help them implement successful transformation strategies.