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Digital Transformation

To Lead Digital Transformation, CEOs Must Prioritize

The Harvard Business Review has a great article on the issues standing in front of realizing value from digital transformation.  A lot of it rings true in both the challenge and the answer. But first the challenge:

The problem is that that these efforts tend to be ad-hoc and uncoordinated. Without the proper framing and orchestration at the overall company level, the best initiatives will fail to get the attention and investment they need. While it is important to encourage local ownership of ideas and projects, turning them into game-changers requires clear, sometimes ruthless direction from the center around which projects to scale and in what order. Only the CEO has the power to provide this kind of direction across the entire enterprise.

What I see is almost a cynical attitude about more investment, especially if execs see investment as primarily a technology play.  To be fair, we’ve all seen a lot of hype and not enough value with technology investments.  But that said, most recognize the need to continue to invest. The problem is that the CMO has one opinion, The VP of Sales has another, and the CIO has yet a another opinion.  Most have some overlap but none of those opinions provide a clear view.

I like what Laurent-Pierre Baculard has to say

Define where change is needed most: Digital technology affects every company differently, but it tends to create or destroy value in four critical areas of the organization: customer engagement, digital products and services, operational performance, and preparing for disruptive new business models. Developing a clear point of view on the opportunities or threats in each area will suggest which capabilities need the most attention and where to concentrate investment.

Yes, you guessed it, when someone agrees with me I like what they have to say.  But that said, Perficient’s Jim Hertzfeld and Brian Flanagan lead a successful digital strategy effort at a national retailer by doing focusing on all activities that can provide value and rationalizing that value.  It’s a powerful tool to execs and it’s provides a compelling case for investment when done correctly.

So yes, involves key executives including the CEO and provide an approach that helps them prioritize.  Remember that you will probably need to provide a framework for prioritization as exec lack the time to do it for you.

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Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

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