Tech has reimagined the workplace with the use of unified communications, mobile devices, cloud apps and collaboration. Here's how to become a digital business.
Infrastructure in the cloud is essential. The ability to collaborate, communicate, share data and act on information on a real-time basis separates digital leaders and laggards. Tata's Diana says that CIOs should focus on innovation and disruption as drivers for the organization. The objective, he says, is to "disrupt long-standing business models and drive marginal costs close to zero."
Using this approach, Diana says, "CIOs can mimic technology firms and position their companies to make rapid moves into new sectors. Consider the bookstores shuttered by Amazon, the video stores wiped out by Netflix and the travel agents rendered obsolete by Expedia."
Challenges of Creating a Digital Mindset
Cultivating a digital mindset and culture and injecting it into the DNA of the organization isn't without steep challenges. Organizations must think and behave differently; understand the magnitude of future scenarios and the implications they bring; think beyond the four walls of the enterprise to build new and even revolutionary ecosystems; embed speed agility, flexibility, adaptability and innovation into everything; and even become a software company by developing apps and other tools for employees, customers and partners.
Accenture's Warnke says that there are four keys to building an effective digital business transformation framework:
- Set a clear agenda with tightly defined objectives.
- Experiment, fail fast, iterate and learn.
- Build strong support from the top down so the entire organization is empowered and energized.
- Tap artificial intelligence and start experiments integrating AI and bots into collaboration frameworks.
In addition, Tata's Diana says that CIOs must be willing to explore futuristic thinking and scenarios; weigh various innovations and understand which ones deserve merit and focus; and adapt on a real-time basis to constantly changing market dynamics and new technologies,.
In the end, there are no easy answers or simple strategies. Business and IT leaders must become more purpose-driven; entrepreneurial and innovative; insight and foresight-driven; open, agile and collaborative; asset-light; and powered by creativity and design.
"CIOs and IT leaders must focus on creating and sustaining digital DNA, the key characteristics and culture of next-generation organizations, Accenture's Warnke says. "Everything should be viewed in the context of ecosystem services, where APIs and a cloud orientation prevail.
"However, responding to the formidable challenges of the future requires more than the integration of technology. It requires a holistic approach."
Samuel Greengard writes about business and technology for Baseline, CIO Insight and other publications. His most recent book is The Internet of Things (MIT Press, 2015).