Driving digital transformation, an uphill battle

BITB530Driving digital transformation an uphill battle
Driving Digital Transformation: New Skills for Leaders, New Role for the CI, — the Harvard Business Review report that I mentioned last week — covers ground that is now all too familiar: the need for digital leadership in the enterprise, for the very highest levels of an organisation — its board and CEO — to understand the impacts and potential of digital disruption and steer the enterprise accordingly.

HBR surveyed 436 'business leaders' (their precise roles were not identified) and found "strong digital leadership matters … companies that rate highly in both digital leadership and management have better business results than their peers, with stronger revenue growth and greater profit margin."

Strong digital leadership generally equates with having the CIO, or similar, at a very high level in the organisation, possibly on the board. Writing in the foreword to the HBR report, Jim Whitehurst, president and CEO of the report's sponsor, Red Hat, said: "When companies encourage digital leadership within their organisation, they see higher profit margins and revenue growth. They also typically have something else in common — they have a CIO in a highly strategic, visible and collaborative position within the company."

These views were reinforced by a McKinsey & Co report Digital Banking in Asia. It found that the winning banks were "those that positioned IT more strategically ... with more CIOs having meaningful boardroom presence."

The HBR report urges CIOs to "be proactive about educating and empowering business leaders with quality digital learning support," but perhaps the urging needs to be directed more at CEOs and boards to recognise the key role that IT will play in their futures and invite/elevate their CIO to a new high level role in the organisation.

The report says: "CEOs 'get' that digital is important, but..

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BITB530Driving digital transformation an uphill battle
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