Addressing the business silo: how the CIO can champion digital transformation

how the CIO can champion digital transformation

Today, every business is a digital business. Since technology is now core to virtually every aspect of a business, all senior leaders--not just CIOs--must be able to understand, embrace and drive value from new technologies that affect their organizations, digital transformation requires a high level of internal coordination in order to be successful. But more often than not, IT and other senior business decision makers have a more casual relationship than is strictly advisable.

When it comes to digital transformation, who should govern the process of change? In the course of enhancing digital abilities, new challenges from security risks to effective data integration need to be dealt with. Hence it is a natural choice for the CIO to take the lead on digital transformation. But for effective governance to be in place, the goals of the IT organization and the goals of the business must be closely linked.

That’s easier said than done. While all business decision-making needs to include the right people to ensure that business priorities are being served, adding people to the process also makes it more time consuming. More complex structures, of course, mean that decision-making and justification procedures become more demanding, all of which hinder quick progress.

By introducing governance elements such as responsibility, accountability and communications, many more people might get to sit around the discussion table and slow things down. But at the same time, CIOs are inviting valuable insights and new ideas to participate in the digital transformation process.

By creating a governance process that combines clear responsibilities with flexibility and room for new ideas, CIOs can ensure that governance supports successful transformation. While these structures can feel a burden at times, it is also a unique opportunity to shape transformation in a way that is guaranteed to benefit the whole business. The internal flow of information is certain to be improved. What better way is there to ensure that IT is aligned with the desired business goals?

By making sure that professionals from different business units are included in the process, IT projects can eliminate the risk of becoming experiments with no connection to real business operations. A good governance structure allows feedback on IT-performance, compliance and impact on different business units to make sure that change is adding value to the business.

Only if the challenges of transformation are approached in a collaborative manner can the digital conversion become truly transformative. A focused CIO can make sure of that with the right support.