Recently I had a chance to sit down with Ben Kepes. Ben is the host of a web series titled Digital Strength where guests discuss various topics of digital transformation, digital business, and the future of business technologies. Ben and I picked up the topic of organizational transformation — the people side of becoming a digital leader.
You can view and download the content here.
A few areas stood out to me in this conversation.
Transformation should be transformational. Empirical data shows that companies that fail to think differently about their destinies are likely to lose relevance and standing. While there are plenty of wins to be made through cost savings or efficiency gains; companies that are able to rethink how value is created by rethinking customer experience, their supply chain, or the ecosystem of partnerships will lead the new economy.
Impacting the customer journey stands out as a focal point for reinvention. Digital technologies — smart mobile, predictive analytics, real-time smart engagement – bring customers directly into companies’ digital capabilities, directly interconnecting them to data, insights, and process excellence.
Innovation is at the core of transformation. It is very difficult to separate digital transformation from the processes and competencies of innovation. Innovation can take on several levels — the transformational innovation mentioned above and also the cultural dynamic of continuous innovation that changes how companies address ongoing challenges and opportunities.
Innovation begins with a leadership mandate, but organizations that are most effective push the culture throughout. Innovation is not necessarily a natural state of being. It’s purposeful and must be nurtured. Innovation also combines many skills – creative, economic, practical — that have to be brought together in harmony to thrive. It is not enough to have great ideas that go nowhere, nor can an outstanding development organization thrive without sparks of vision.
Transformation requires a different view of teams and individuals. Along the lines of creativity and grit, digital transformation requires organizations to break down group silos and create environments where diverse teams excel by working closely together. DevOps is a perfect example of business leaders being integral members of developer scrums. Close proximity germinates ideas, accelerates prototyping, rapidly adapts to market trials, and gains an incredible shared understanding of customer requirements and technical potential.
Organizations must also think about their next generation of digital leaders. A data-centric world requires workers who have strong analytic skills and technical affinity. A market-centric world requires an equal sense of how profit is made and what sustains an enterprise competitively. Our emerging leaders must be well-rounded and capable of addressing technology, analytics, and business strategy. Business leaders must recognize and reward skills and behaviors that align with this model of capabilities and performance.
Check out the session. Much more content on digital leadership, management and how to spur innovation.