Digital Transformation: 2016 versus 2017
Almost every company in every field did something digital this year, whether it was fully transforming or just thinking about it. Now, with 2017 in sight, let’s take a look at what happened, and what still needs to be picked up next year. Here are five big Digital Transformation issues.
2016: Someone has to take the lead in Digital Transformation. But should that be IT, is it the shared responsibility of the C-suite, or should there be a specialist team? A lot of innovation processes stranded because they lacked proper leadership. Who has the gravity to influence all involved (including the C-suite)? Who has the knowledge and experience give shape to a sensible innovation plan AND who is able to take the lead at the same time? In the search for this kind of leader, CIOs saw their job description change to that role.
2017: In many cases it is still the CIO who has to pick up the pace, take leadership and ensure the competitive status of their companies. They are extremely important to provide the focus and guidance that effective change requires. And there’s no time to loose!
2016: Numerous companies found themselves struggling with ownership and responsibility issues. People involved in transformation processes have to feel empowered to actively instigate and boost innovation and they need to feel responsible for the outcome. At the same time, transformation processes require clear and focused leadership, well-defined goals and vision. It’s time to get things clear.
2017: Managers have to stop managing and start leading. Providing goals and vision, while forming a culture of trust, honesty and openness. Allowing for failures and acting as sparring partners rather than being the one that outlines the exact process.
The role of IT
2016: In most cases, digital transformation takes off at the IT department. But because innovation involves the whole company, non-IT departments are starting to take their own shot at developments. This often leaves companies with uncertainty on the role of IT. While digital transformation is most effective when well coordinated, only 1 in 5 organizations had a clear cross-departmental strategy.
2017: A cross-departmental strategy for innovation processes that involves IT benefits the whole company. With everyone working together in a DevOps-strategy, all experience and knowledge is put to use in the search for balance between legacy system maintenance, upgrades and innovations.
2016: The amount of available data has exploded and the importance of using those data is keeping marketers and business strategists up at night. Keeping track of operation efficiency, customer relationships, innovation, employee engagement and sentiment; people that know how to do that are now on the most-wanted list for employers.
2017: Companies will further experiment with the data they pick to keep track of progress. Big data analysis is evolving towards smart data analysis. Setting specific goals and expectations, establishing benchmarks to monitor the progress.
Create Something Big next year
2016: At the beginning of 2016 there were a lot of enterprises contemplating Digital Transformation. During the year, for most companies the question ‘should we do something about digital?’ became ‘how and when are we becoming digital?’ Big words in 2016 were: mobile tech, social media, big data analytics, cloud computing, Internet of Things.
2017: It is time to look beyond the initial transformation processes and find a steadily evolving digital state. Words that belong to this year are: business agility, rapid development, test-and-learn and cross-functional team collaboration.
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