Leading Change to Build Digital Business

For many of us, relocation is easier to contemplate than remodeling when our family or lifestyle needs change. Remodeling a home involves prioritization, design decisions, interviews, hiring, as well as all too often living with disruption and unforeseen costs. The variety and choice afforded through big box home improvement stores only seems to make the entire process that much more daunting.

Established organizations looking to address evolving consumer preferences and enter new markets with digital face a similar dilemma. The daily resource drain required to maintain current revenue streams and customer satisfaction means wholesale reinvention may not seem possible. Progress can be made through measures such as incubating ideas in digital labs and encouraging an ‘okay to fail’ culture, but comprehensive transformation requires cross-departmental collaboration, retaining the right talent and the will to drive significant change. 

How to effectively lead change was a key topic of interest among the IT and business leaders who recently converged at CIO’s AGENDA16 conference on Building the Digital Business. Raman Sapra, global head of Dell Digital Business Services, shared his perspective on the pivotal role IT leaders can play in digital transformation during the event.

Here are some highlights from his discussion with Adam Dennison, senior VP and general manager for CIO and IDG.

The role of the CIO 

Technology has moved center stage as far as business is concerned. The interdependencies between digital business and technology means that CIOs are now in the right position to act as change agents in organizations. Raman increasingly sees CIOs assuming the mantel of the Chief Digital Officer in addition to managing traditional IT.

Key traits and best practices

Taking an approach that defines business priorities first, and then technology solutions, is a key tenet for any organization to follow when embarking on digital according to Raman. Other best practices include:

  • Incubating a start-up culture to fuel ideation, especially in traditional organizations

  • Putting the customer at the heart of your transformation  

  • Enabling the IT department to respond with speed

A look ahead

Looking ahead at the next 12 months, Raman sees digital adoption accelerating on an enterprise-wide basis. Technology leaders are well suited to lead digital business, and he anticipates this resulting in more CIOs moving into the CEO role down the road.

Digital offers organizations and IT leaders the potential for nearly unlimited growth and change. A key to success may be finding the right fit for your business’ priorities and personal style.

Looking to remodel your business? Check out the top digital trends Raman discussed at AGENDA16 in this related article, and view his interview with IDG in its entirety here

About the Author: Wendy Williams