For many organizations, the need to be digital is clear. Paper and manual work are replaced by digital processes and automation. The 2017 CIO Survey results show that over half of the organizations has an enterprise wide digital business vision and strategy. The other half implemented this in individual business units or work on a digital business strategy. The importance of being digital is obvious, although the question remains; how to keep up the pace in an environment that changes incredibly fast?
While everyone is thinking digital now, the digital opportunities and applications are advancing every second. While at the one moment, cloud, Internet of Things and block chain is at mind, the next moment, attention should be paid to Robotics, Data and Connectivity. Data will become a key asset for many organizations for knowing the customer and predicting behavior. Furthermore, since organizations are increasingly working in a network environment, digital connectivity with external parties is key for ensuring smooth cooperation in the ecosystem.
These developments make the implementation and execution of a digital strategy rather difficult. In the CIO Survey, 75% of the CIO’s state that the effectiveness of their digital strategy is moderately effective. Only 12% of the CIO’s state that their digital strategy is very effective. Below, we explain the need for keeping up with digital opportunities and we elaborate on how to do so.
Being ‘digital’ means staying ahead of competition, since your competitors tomorrow might be different from your competitors today. New start-ups pop-up incredibly fast from unexpected sources. These newcomers have no legacy and are operating digitally right from the start. Controversy, existing companies do have to deal with their legacy and therefore upgrading this legacy is as important as innovating. It needs to happen in parallel.
Both new entrants and existing competitors are trying to keep ahead with technological developments. The CIO Survey shows that 43% of Dutch organizations is planning to invest or is already investing in robotics. Digital labour and, to a smaller extend, cognitive automation are key for ensuring a lean organization which is prepared to deal with digital developments.
Beside new digital business models, digitalization can be used to solve current bottlenecks in the customer domain and gain operational excellence. These digital initiatives have a less breaking through character, but are crucial to enhance the current business.
A new way of working is needed in order to deal with the changing environment. In the CIO Survey, 40% of the CIOs state that the most important step for becoming more responsive in development and delivery of IT services is to implement agile methodologies. Digital demands a responsive and effective organization, where the agile way of working ensures this through short lead times and multifunctional cooperation which increases the effectiveness of the organization.
A few years ago, IT was a supporting function to the administrative processes, although nowadays it should be in the lead for cooperating with the business functions. The knowledge of digital opportunities lies with IT, where the knowledge of client needs lies with the business functions. Together they can make a difference. We see more and more companies appointing a Chief Digital Officer (27% in 2017). This might be the connection for digital and client knowledge to come together.
The agile way of working increases opportunities for multi-functional cooperation and decreases lead times for implementing new technologies. Relevance of implemented technologies is increased, since there is a focus on client and end-user needs. An organization-wide agile way of working will help organizations dealing with digital developments.