12 Digital Transformation Expert Insights for IT Leaders

Posted by on October 07, 2019

digital transformation
Digital transformation is a culture and process shift as much as a technological one. Ideally, a transformation initiative should bring together leadership across the organization to develop a holistic strategy. 

Sadly, too often, digital transformation is seen as a strictly IT concern. So how can IT leaders lead the expedition and gain buy-in from the whole organization? 

To help you start your journey, we created an interactive guide: The IT Leader’s Guide to Digital Transformation. You can check it out at the GIF below:

digital transformation


Aligning with the Executive Team

Despite the enthusiasm for digital transformation, only 34 percent of businesses have a transformation program in place. Deliberation about the best approach to digital transformation often doesn’t go beyond the boardroom. It can take moxie and more than a little tenacity to move leadership toward decisive action. Here are ways to influence high-level decision makers:


1. “How do we involve management? I think you share the numbers. This is what we expect to happen to productivity. This is what we expect in regard to improved customer experience. This is what we think will be the impact on the bottom line. Then, they’re like, 'Okay, this is how it impacts me.'" —Shelly Kramer, Principal Analyst and Founding Partner of Futurum Research + Analysis


2. “The CIO needs to be aligned with the CEO and the priorities of the company. When the CIO is aligned with the CEO and thinking like the CEO, they are best prepared to understand where technology can play a critical role in achieving and/or catapulting business objectives.” —Tim Crawford, CIO and Strategic Advisor of AVOA 


Engaging Employees

Our recent report asked employees about the intangible benefits of integrated work processes. According to the results, advantages include: higher productivity (90 percent), improved collaboration (87 percent), and heightened job satisfaction (71 percent). But how do you get employees involved in the digital transformation process? 


3. “The best way to gain employee buy-in for larger change initiatives is to involve them right from the start. Often the strongest ideas for improvement come from those closest to the work and customers, so it’s smart to include employees at the earliest stage of innovation.” —Andrew Spence, HR Transformation Director of Glass Bead Consulting


4. “The process needs to start with the people who are elbows-deep in solving these problems all day, every day. When they feel they are an integral part of the process and that their feedback is valued, they can help lead the company to the right solutions.” —Shelly Kramer, Principal Analyst and Founding Partner of Futurum Research + Analysis


5. “Cross-departmental collaboration is critical to empower and build trust, knowledge exchange, and continuous innovation. It counteracts those perennial issues of poor alignment across functions, fragmented data sharing, and entrenched siloed thinking and analysis.” —Sally Eaves, CEO and Director of Sally Eaves Consultancy


The Goals for Digital Transformation 

In setting the corporate vision for digital transformation, there are key questions you should ask: Does it improve customer experience? Will it enable greater worker productivity? Can it eliminate redundancy or waste? When will we see a return on the investment? Will it help us attract and retain talent?


6. “The only goal should be to transform the business and operating model to deliver a differentiated experience to your customers. With that goal as your true north, you then must determine what changes you will require to deliver the experience you seek.” —Charles Araujo, Principal Analyst of Intellyx LLC


7. “We transform to help our companies stay relevant, enchant customers, motivate and inspire employees. There is always a human purpose tied to every technology investment.” —Daniel Newman, Principal Analyst and Founding Partner of Futurum Research + Analysis


8. “Too many organizations historically built their technology infrastructure in a piecemeal manner. Use this opportunity to redesign and architect the business to be scalable and more flexible for future needs.” —Jonathan Reichental, PhD, Founder and CEO of Human Future


9. “People use the word digital to mean almost anything. They say, ‘We're gonna digitize a process.’ That's digital optimization; it's better, faster, cheaper. But digital transformation is changing the culture, the market, the products, the customer experience, the employee experience, using technology.” —Wayne Sadin, Chief Digital Officer and Chief Technology Officer of Affinitas Life 


Setting Your Course to Digital Transformation

Making headway in digital transformation can be a challenge. With the ongoing proliferation of technology, it can often feel like one step forward, two steps back. But there’s hope! While it is essential to know your overall strategy and priorities, an organization must be flexible in execution. 


10. “Sometimes the best route to success is baby steps. One idea leads to one implementation, which leads to proof of concept, which shows the path forward.” —Shelly Kramer, Principal Analyst and Founding Partner of Futurum Research + Analysis


11. “In my opinion, the greatest challenge that organisations face is, on the one hand, knowing where to start their digital transformation journey, but on the other hand, having a good idea of where they want to eventually end up.” —Matthew Griffin, Founder and CEO of the 311 Institute


12. “One of my colleagues coined a phrase that I've been using for 20 years. He said, ‘It's about: Patch, then polish, then perfect.’ If it's broken, we patch it. If it makes people mad, we polish it. Then we can invest time and money to perfect it. That's the strategy I've always taken.” —Wayne Sadin, Chief Digital Officer and Chief Technology Officer of Affinitas Life 


More Inspiration for Your Journey to Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is too big of a job for a single person, or even a department, to manage on their own. For insights on gaining organizational support and planning a successful route to digital transformation, check out the IT Leader’s Guide to Digital Transformation.

See the Interactive Guide