Who Should Be Driving Digital Transformation?

Business World and IT Strategy

From healthcare and finance to retail and transportation, industry after industry is being disrupted by digital innovation. Companies of all sizes are undergoing digital transformations to align IT innovation with their business objectives and stay ahead of the curve. But who is driving these efforts? Business or IT? And more importantly, who should be? 

First, let’s define what digital transformation is. 
 
According to Gartner, digital transformation is the process of exploiting digital technologies and supporting capabilities to create a robust new digital business model.
 
Traditionally, the natural tendency might be to hand this challenge to the business’s technology organization. And while that may be a useful starting point, it is not where a digital transformation project should find its main stakeholders. 
 
Digital transformation should be driven by the people who understand what it means to their organization. In other words, those who are key players in envisioning the future of the business. 

Inspired By Technology, Led By Business

In traditional business structures, executives were several steps removed from IT strategy, so more often than not it was IT leaders who ended up leading these initiatives.
 
But if digital transformation is defined as changing the business and its business model, it’s a topic that CIOs should drive.
 
However, digital transformation is also about alignment, so consider what happens when business and IT are at odds. In a typical scenario of limited IT resources and expanding business goals, misalignment can lead to long delivery schedules, missed opportunities and other negative consequences.
 
Digital transformation needs the support of the IT department, but as the processes of more business departments become digitally driven, CIOs needs to be engaged and committed to the transformation process too.

Blending Transactional and Transformational IT

While digital transformation is seen as requiring rapid technological change, most companies inevitably have a traditional IT base that is driving the fundamentals of their existing processes.

In the digital economy, leaders need to use technology to change the business they are in.

A transactional leader is more concerned with maintaining the normal flow of operations – this style is best described as “keeping the ship afloat.” A transformational leader goes beyond managing day-to-day operations and crafts strategies for taking his or her business, department or work team to the next level of performance and success.
 
It doesn’t mean we should say that being transactional is bad and transformation is good, in the absolute. An effective leader needs to have both levels and styles of thinking, behaving and acting. However, the pace of changes in IT would force more leaders into transformation-oriented roles, especially for CIOs, who are expected to be creating business value.

If you don't understand the business you can't deliver relevant results

Successful leaders need to concentrate not on what technology is available, but how the technology can be leveraged to produce demonstrable value to the business.
 
The leader who introduces new ways to apply technology for the business is an innovator. This emphasizes the importance of creating alignment between IT and the business, as well as with external customers or clients. Leaders today need to be both open and agile: be open to technological innovation and also be able to direct the organization towards change quickly.

IT is more important today with the digital transformation than ever. Contact Plow Networks to start your transformation.

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About Plow Networks

Headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee, Plow Networks is a Total Service Provider (TSP) with several distinct business practices that, when consumed together, offer our clients a unique, best-in-class experience. We give organizations peace of mind, valuable time back and the economies of scale that come with having one technology partner that is focused on exceeding their expectations with every engagement.

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