Time Is Now For A Dig­i­tal Capability Ma­tu­rity Model

Dig­i­tal dis­rup­tion is test­ing the glory days of the IT Or­ga­ni­za­tion and how truly the CIO is also dou­bling as a busi­ness leader. So, are CIOs ready to em­brace Dig­i­tal and take their en­ter­prises to next or­bit of growth?

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The trans­for­ma­tion is ev­i­dent from the early 2000 and to­day CIOs are no longer rel­e­gated to the side­lines—rather they have taken the cen­ter stage. But the yesteryears EDP and MIS are mostly manned by pro­gram­mers and of­ten de­vel­oped in­house so­lu­tions—like pay­roll and some back-end pro­cesses. But of­ten they are re­ac­tive so­lu­tions that made IT rigid and un­able to scale and did not align well with busi­ness de­mands.

And some­where in the mid-1990s this seem­ingly placid tech depart­ment slowly changed and in­for­ma­tion be­came an as­set and prob­a­bly that was the en­ter­prise IT’s tip­ping point—the MIS man­agers mor­phed into CIOs and in some in­stances, the fi­nance/busi­ness heads took to man­ag­ing the tech­nol­ogy roles. Much has been writ­ten about the chang­ing roles of the CIOs and sum­ma­riz­ing that might be a cliché here. But with the on­set of dig­i­tal dis­rup­tion, are CIOs ready to take the big dig­i­tal plunge?


Across the world, the CIOs are caught in a dilemma. One they still have legacy and siloes and as­sets on a cor­po­rate data cen­ter. But they are told to give the much needed tech lever­age for the busi­ness to ex­pand its foot­prints in the dig­i­tal econ­omy. What ex­perts call as a dig­i­tal-led busi­ness trans­for­ma­tion is not an easy task.

And now, this dig­i­tal dis­rup­tion is test­ing the glory days of the IT Or­ga­ni­za­tion and how truly the CIO is also dou­bling up as a busi­ness leader. So, are CIOs ready to em­brace Dig­i­tal and take their en­ter­prises to next or­bit of growth?

A study by Com­m­vault, the global leader in en­ter­prise backup, re­cov­ery, ar­chive and the cloud, and Quad­rant Strate­gies, late last year said that an alarm­ing gap be­tween the ex­pec­ta­tions of man­age­ment and the readi­ness of IT or­ga­ni­za­tions. The study, “Mea­sur­ing IT’s Readi­ness for Dig­i­tal Busi­ness,” a sur­vey of 1,200 IT ex­ec­u­tives and IT per­son­nel in six global busi­ness mar­kets re­vealed that while many ex­ec­u­tives rec­og­nize the need to be able to lead their com­pa­nies through dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion, IT per­son­nel ac­tu­ally feel they lack the skillset, tech­nol­ogy, and band­width to cre­ate the data-cen­tric foun­da­tion re­quired for that dig­i­tal change and fu­ture in­no­va­tion.

This is in­deed a hard-hit­ting fact, comes at a time when CEOs and ex­ec­u­tive boards are call­ing for a rapid trans­for­ma­tion to dig­i­tal busi­ness mod­els.

The study fur­ther pointed out that Dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion is no longer a choice. Or­ga­ni­za­tions must trans­form or die. For ex­am­ple, stud­ies have shown that com­pa­nies uti­liz­ing data-driven in­sights to make strate­gic de­ci­sions have im­proved their pro­duc­tiv­ity by up to 33 per­cent. Mean­while, pro­gres­sive com­pa­nies that have trans­formed their busi­ness mod­els are fu­ture-proof­ing their or­ga­ni­za­tions and re­shap­ing their in­dus­tries. The com­mon theme among these com­pa­nies is pro­gres­sive CEOs and CIOs who rec­og­nized that a dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion vi­sion was not enough. In­stead, they en­abled their IT or­ga­ni­za­tions – through new skillsets and tools – to cre­ate a data-cen­tric foun­da­tion that sup­ported more cost-ef­fec­tive current op­er­a­tions while pro­vid­ing deeper busi­ness in­sights and the agility to sup­port rad­i­cal new ideas and new ap­pli­ca­tions for do­ing busi­ness with cus­tomers.


More re­cently, Korn Ferry (a global or­gan­i­sa­tional con­sult­ing firm that help com­pa­nies de­sign their or­gan­i­sa­tion—the struc­ture, the roles, and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, as well as how they com­pen­sate, de­velop and mo­ti­vate their peo­ple) an­nounced its find­ings from an in-depth re­search, which finds that lead­ers across In­dia need to em­brace a rad­i­cal mind­set shift to en­able real and sus­tain­able dig­i­tal change within their or­gan­i­sa­tions. The study also high­lighted that lead­ers across APAC are not yet dig­i­tal-ready and risk de­rail­ing dig­i­tal sus­tain­abil­ity ini­tia­tives by per­pet­u­at­ing legacy ways of work­ing.

The re­port, ti­tled “Dig­i­tal Lead­er­ship in the Asia Pa­cific”, an­a­lyzed the lead­er­ship profiles of more than 9,000 lead­ers from eight APAC coun­tries and ter­ri­to­ries in­clud­ing the 2600 In­dian lead­ers, and com­pared these profiles against the traits, com­pe­ten­cies, and driv­ers of great dig­i­tal lead­ers. The coun­tries and ter­ri­to­ries in­volved in the study in­clude Aus­tralia, China, Hong Kong, In­dia, Ja­pan, Malaysia, Sin­ga­pore, and South Korea.

Across the re­gion, a few bright stars are Aus­tralia and In­dia, fare rel­a­tively well against the pro­file of a great dig­i­tal leader. How­ever, much of APAC is strug­gling with the scale of change re­quired and look­ing for a way through the com­plex­ity.


Ac­cord­ing to Korn Ferry, In­dia is one of the great global growth mar­kets and the gov­ern­ment’s investment in the Dig­i­tal In­dia ini­tia­tive is un­leash­ing the power of dig­i­tal con­nec­tion. In­dian busi­ness lead­ers see the mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties, yet many con­tinue to strug­gle with what “dig­i­tal” looks like for their or­ga­ni­za­tions, par­tic­u­larly as they con­tinue to en­joy strong performance to­day.

Korn Ferry’s anal­y­sis com­pares a sam­ple of over 2,600 In­dian lead­ers to the dig­i­tal lead­er­ship pro­file. The find­ings sug­gest that In­dian lead­ers need to em­brace a rad­i­cal mind­set shift to en­able real and sus­tain­able

dig­i­tal change within their or­ga­ni­za­tions. Great dig­i­tal lead­ers don’t only de­liver re­sults right now; they also cre­ate the con­di­tions for fu­ture suc­cess. Mar­ket de­mand in In­dia will only in­crease, so the race is on to cap­ture the competitive ad­van­tage on of­fer.

While In­dian lead­ers are strongly mo­ti­vated by chal­lenge and have proven ca­pac­ity to en­gage and in­spire their peo­ple and de­liver re­sults, their pref­er­ence for struc­ture cur­rently hin­ders their abil­ity to en­gage and in­spire their peo­ple in un­cer­tain con­di­tions and cul­ti­vate in­no­va­tive think­ing. It also pro­motes the “safe” ap­proach, rather than giving free rein to more en­tre­pre­neur­ial think­ing and it­er­a­tive de­ci­sion-mak­ing and sti­fles cu­rios­ity, con­fi­dence, and risk-tak­ing.

Go­ing Dig­i­tal hence is a ju­di­cious blend of pol­icy and tech­nol­ogy ex­e­cu­tion. And dig­i­tal readi­ness is in­deed a painstak­ing ex­er­cise. With the multi-pronged ram­i­fi­ca­tions, it is vi­tal for IT or­ga­ni­za­tions to fast track their dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion ini­tia­tives to stay rel­e­vant in the mar­ket­place. So en­ter­prises need a com­bi­na­tion of best prac­tices and in­dulge in en­ter­prise re-cal­i­bra­tion ini­tia­tives. Here we sug­gest 5 best prac­tices that im­prove your dig­i­tal ma­tu­rity.


#1: Map your dig­i­tal pri­or­i­ties: It’s a given fact that en­ter­prise IT or­ga­ni­za­tion suf­fers from tech­nol­ogy plu­ral­ity and in­for­ma­tion over­load, legacy, and si­los. The start­ing premise hence for a CIO or a CXO on the road to dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion is to in­dulge in a due dili­gence on the current state of tech­nolo­gies that run the en­ter­prise. Once when the tech­nol­ogy in­ven­tory is done, and ex­perts sug­gest that a rel­e­vance anal­y­sis of the current busi­ness de­mands need to be done. In this process, the en­ter­prises will clearly as­cer­tain how rel­e­vant is their ex­ist­ing IT- hard­ware, soft­ware, and apps, and up­date to newer ones meet­ing the busi­ness de­mands of the current new nor­mal dig­i­tal econ­omy. Based on the tech assess­ment a dig­i­talled busi­ness trans­for­ma­tion plan needs to be inked. That plan must in its am­bit have all the rel­e­vant in­gre­di­ents of tran­si­tion. #2: The CEO-CIO Col­lab­o­ra­tion: Ac­cord­ing to a Gart­ner sur­vey last year, it said that prod­uct im­prove­ments and tech­nol­ogy are the big­gest-ris­ing pri­or­i­ties for CEOs in 2017. IT-re­lated pri­or­i­ties, have never been this high in the his­tory of the CEO sur­vey,” stated Gart­ner. Al­most twice as many CEOs are in­tent on build­ing up in-house tech­nol­ogy and dig­i­tal ca­pa­bil­i­ties as those plan on out­sourc­ing it. Gart­ner re­fers to this trend as the ‘rein­ter­nal­iza­tion’ of IT — bring­ing in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy capability back to­ward the core of the en­ter­prise be­cause of its re­newed im­por­tance to competitive ad­van­tage. This is the build­ing up of new­era tech­nol­ogy skills and ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Deeper trans­for­ma­tion can only be achieved at scale if it is sys­tem­at­i­cally driven. Ex­perts say that CIOs should help CEOs set the suc­cess cri­te­ria for dig­i­tal busi­ness. It starts by re­mem­ber­ing that you can­not scale what you do not quan­tify, and you can­not quan­tify what you do not de­fine. You should also ask your­self: What is ‘dig­i­tal’ for us? What kind of growth do we seek? What’s the No. 1 met­ric and which KPIs must change.

Ex­perts like Gart­ner say that many CEOs have rec­og­nized that be­ing open-minded, en­tre­pre­neur­ial, adapt­able and col­lab­o­ra­tive are the most-needed dig­i­tal lead­er­ship mind­sets. “It is time for CEOs to scale up their dig­i­tal busi­ness am­bi­tion and let CIOs help them set and track in­ci­sive suc­cess met­rics and KPIs, to bet­ter direct busi­ness trans­for­ma­tion. CIOs

should also help them to­ward more-ab­stract think­ing about the na­ture of dig­i­tal busi­ness change and how to lead it.

#3: Cre­ate a tech Eco-Sys­tem: At the end of the day, dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion is all about how IT can en­able busi­ness for more prof­itabil­ity. In more ways, you can call it as an IT-led, dig­i­tal-driven busi­ness trans­for­ma­tion. Clearly, the start­ing premise lies in the cre­ation of tech­nol­ogy ecosys­tem and a seam­less blend of hard­ware and soft­ware. So it starts with man­ag­ing your PC fleet, server sprawl and the kind of apps and soft­ware one is run­ning. So the IT in­fra­struc­ture has to be in sync with times and ag­ile enough to take in all the el­e­ments of trans­for­ma­tion and be able to evolve as the or­ga­ni­za­tion grows and need to be rel­e­vant and up­dated all the times.

#4: Reimag­ine and Rein­vent: Again, this might sound cliché, but there is no es­cap­ing it. This is more of a mind­set prob­lem. When things are go­ing fine, the most or­ga­ni­za­tion goes into the ‘Ni­a­gara Falls’ syn­drome and they fall into the trap of ‘If things are go­ing fine, why change it.’ But to­day IT has reached an in­flec­tion

point and the writ­ing is clear on the wall- ‘Go Dig­i­tal or Per­ish’. It is in this back­drop, ex­perts sug­gest that or­ga­ni­za­tions must put in place a staged dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion plan, that is re­al­is­tic and achiev­able. The key take­away here is that trans­for­ma­tion will not be overnight, rather phased and con­sis­tent. So from legacy- in terms of think­ing and tech­nol­ogy, the or­ga­ni­za­tion must pass through var­i­ous stages of dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion and achieve a level of tech­nol­ogy and process ma­tu­rity that can drive dig­i­tal ini­tia­tives. #5: Dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion is a journey and not an

end: Clearly, this is an on­go­ing ex­er­cise. One of the big­gest chal­lenges is to cre­ate a tech adop­tion model that is ag­ile enough to ex­plore and ex­per­i­ment. So once when you have aligned your IT to­wards dig­i­tal de­mands, the em­pha­sis should be on met­rics. As a tech­nol­ogy de­ci­sion maker and the one driv­ing the dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion, ir­re­spec­tive you are a CIO or CTO or a CXO, you need to pro­vide tan­gi­ble RoI bench­marks. By pro­vid­ing bench­marks, one is also cre­at­ing an on out­come driven dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion model.

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