What traits do IT leaders need to bring about digital transformation?

Will Astbury
by Will Astbury 29 December 2016

Some organisations are embracing the process of digital transformation whilst others are being dragged into the 21st century by a few adventurous individuals.

Entire sectors are now being disrupted by new innovations, so whether you like it or not, your company must accept that digital change will happen eventually. Successfully shifting your organisation’s culture and business models onto the digital platforms and digitising your products and services is dependent on several factors; having the right leaders, getting buy-in from the board and key stakeholders, and finding talented staff.

CIO Magazine recently named ‘Digital To The Core’ by Gartner VPs Mark Raskino and Graham Waller as one of the essential books for CIOs to read in 2017. The book explains why all business leaders must understand the impact of the digital revolution on industries, companies, and leadership styles. It describes how conventional management processes will be disrupted by digital, the new behaviours that need to be adopted by digital business leaders, and how CIOs and executive leaders can drive these behaviour changes.

So, what kind of traits do business leaders need to possess to bring about digital transformation in their organisation?

You will need buy-in and cohesion from every C-level officer in your company, and most of your board, if you are to successfully deliver ambitious new business models and digitally remastered products. To increase executive understanding and involvement in digital transformation projects, CIOs need to be brave when delivering new innovative ideas and they need to be ambassadorial when convincing and educating senior stakeholders.

The old IT adage when it comes to testing new ideas is ‘think, act fast, and fail quickly if it goes wrong’. CIOs must act now and be confident when testing new digital ideas that add value for customers or increase internal efficiency.

To ensure that you get buy-in for your ambitious schemes, utilize the ambassador’s art of persuasion. This doesn’t mean telling each stakeholder what they want to hear. Stay true to your organisation’s core objectives and work patiently through tricky conflicts to ensure that others join you on your digital journey. Inspire your company leaders by showing them what could be possible as this will encourage them to have confidence in your approach and ideas.

As an educator, you also must create an environment of immersive learning which will encourage your C-level peers to make their own discoveries about digital opportunities for success.

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Crimson is an IT consultancy, an IT solutions provider, an IT recruitment agency, and a Microsoft Gold Partner with offices in Birmingham and the City of London.

Topics: Digital Transformation, digital disruption