“Leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with where but with who. ~ Jim Collins.
In his iconic book, "Good to Great," Collins makes the argument that businesses on the path to success must first start with the people, then choose the direction. And this couldn’t be more imperative for organizations looking to embark on a digital transformation.
The fact the matter is once an organization begins the journey towards digital transformation, and actually puts pen to paper, it can start to look harrowing. But the right people on the bus (in the right seats), can help get you where you want to go. Of course, deciding on that team's roster can be a challenge, especially if you’re a non digitally-native company trying to fit the square peg of transformation into the round hole of traditional structure.
Here are a few tips on structuring a team that will help bring your organization’s transformation to fruition.
Building a transformation team
Digital transformation is a full-scale organizational change –– in process and mindset –– and buy-in from your entire team is essential. At the executive level, each leader will have a say in the implementation of digital, but the transition in most organizations needs to be spearheaded by one individual ––rather than spreading the ownership across several leaders.
This person must possess several key traits: be an adept leader, have digital savvy, and understand the customer experience. Who is that person in your organization? The CEO, CIO or CTO? Turns out, it could actually be the CMO.
According to a study by SAP, CMOs across a variety of industries recognized digital transformation wasn't just "another IT project," it was about redesigning the business. They also recognized a need for bringing the right people into the company fold –– tearing down silos and inspiring collaboration across all departments. This is part of the output of true transformation –– it introduces a new, streamlined and collaborative way of doing business.
If your current team is apprehensive to open, transparent communication, quick thinking and innovation at the speed of experimentation, they might not be enough to get you where you need to go. If this is the case, where do you turn?
Introducing fresh perspective
We all operate with blinders on ––it’s human nature. And this is where you have to get real about the fact that your organization, no matter how forward thinking, likely approaches new initiatives with a set of lenses on that could present limitations. This is where turning to trusted, outside third parties to oversee parts of the digital transformation process can help ensure you don't miss any potential opportunities, and even help you sidestep any potential roadblocks.
Why? Outside experts have the advantage of not carrying baggage into the equation, and as a result they bring great objectivity to the table. They can answer questions you didn't know to ask, and help evaluate your digital readiness.
An outside team that specializes in business design and transformation can also help build and standardize the operational and customer-facing infrastructure, which is particularly useful if don't have the capabilities in-house. Keep in mind, however, even if your transition is being managed by a third party, the buck has to stop somewhere within your organization. Increasingly, that means hiring for an entirely new executive position, sometimes called the chief digital officer (CDO).
What exactly is a Chief Digital Officer? Who do they report to and what should you look for in in a CDO? To learn more, sign up to get our in-depth guide: Digital Transformation and Your Brand: How to Build a Foundation for Change.
Written by Tallwave