By Rick Delgado, contributing writer
For some businesses, making the transition into a fully digital company is part of their normal business strategy. Tech companies, for instance, have no choice but to keep up with the times, and that requires the digital transformation. Other companies that might not have tech ties, however, may find transitioning into a digital business to be a significant challenge.
It’s a part of an organization’s evolution that must happen for future success to be possible, but achieving it remains difficult. Much of a successful transformation comes down to the CIO and his or her leadership skills within the organization. When taking your own business into the digital age, the complex process can be simplified by holding true to several key guiding principles, ones that will smooth out the numerous bumps in the road.
One guiding principle to keep in mind should be a thorough knowledge of the company’s goals and how technology plays into them. In other words, know how best you can apply the latest technological solutions to your company’s current and future business strategies.
Many CIOs operated for years looking at each new piece of technology and determining if the company needed it. While that worked for its time, the technological landscape has changed in just the past decade. By the time you realize you need new technology, it usually means you’re already far behind. That’s why today’s CIOs need to be more active in adopting new technology rather than reactive, and the best way to do that is to know exactly where your organization wants to end up one, five, and 10 years down the line. Drawing that road map is essential to understanding which technologies will be most useful for your company.
Transforming into a digital company can be seen as a type of journey, one which requires having the right team. Pretty much any CIO will agree having expert minds and talents on the IT team are a must, but it requires more than know how to smoothly make that transition. The right personnel also reflects the CIO’s strategic thinking regarding the use of new technologies. Expert team members also showcase an extensive knowledge of the business they are in along with current market conditions and future trends. An expert team also displays excellent communication with a willingness to share ideas. In part, this could be a reflection of company culture, so becoming a more digital business may mean a shift in company culture.
In fact, that high level of communication should also be one of your guiding principles. People within the organization should feel free to voice ideas and suggestions. Feedback is certainly necessary as well, with constructive comments and critiques coming regularly. In other words, embrace the open environment for cultivating new ideas for how best new technology can help your company make the transition. Encourage collaboration across multiple divisions. No person or department should feel separate from the rest of the company.
It’s also important to know not everything you do will work perfectly the first time. Transitioning of this scale takes patience and a willingness to experiment. Some items will meet expectations while others will fall short. There’s no single blueprint for success in this type of endeavor. That’s why you need to be willing to pick a project and test it, taking into account the kind of feedback you get. Based off of that feedback, you’ll be able to make the necessary improvements.
This guiding principle also includes making sure you keep your projects manageable. Starting one gigantic IT project creates all sorts of possibilities for failure. However, keeping projects small makes it easier to test and adjust. Over time you’ll make the progress you desire while also making sure every step you take is one step closer toward the overall business goals.
Businesses looking to make the transformation into the digital realm face a number of hurdles blocking their way. Those hurdles may amount to big data challenges, cloud issues, infrastructure limitations, or security complications, but they can all be overcome by following a clear set of guiding principles. With these in mind, you’ll be able to make that digital transition with relative ease, helping your organization be able to meet the new challenges it will surely face.