Gartner has identified six crucial steps that will enable CIOs and other business leaders to build a successful digital enterprise and change the game:
Step 1: Create the right mindset and shared understanding
Digital business is not just about expanding the use of technology. Digital business leaders must think about technology in a fundamentally different way than in the past. It is not an enabler to be applied to what the business wants to do but a source of innovation and opportunity for what the business could do. This proactive model focuses on creative disruption and new business models to gain competitive advantage.
As digital business continues to mature, the pipeline of opportunities that will evolve will take on the characteristics of what Gartner calls a “business moment,” defined as “transient opportunities exploited dynamically.”
Step 2: Put the right leaders in place
The fast-moving digital world is exposing gaps in digital leadership, especially with regard to front office disciplines (those related to the customer experience) and head-office disciplines (those related to enterprise strategy). Three types of digital business leader have emerged to fill these leadership gaps:
- The digital strategist;
- The digital marketing leader; and
- The digital business unit leader
“These are roles and not necessarily titles,” said Lee Weldon, research director at Gartner. “The title chief digital officer (CDO) is being used for each of these roles — to date, most often for the digital marketing leader — although the CDO title is best used for the digital strategist. Some CIOs play the digital strategist role already, so it is the most natural digital leadership role for CIOs to evolve into.”
These roles are likely to be around for the next five to ten years, but are really just interim positions. This is because digital will become a part of the way we do everything soon, making a single, separate role dedicated to digital initiatives inappropriate, if not impossible. More generally, there will be significant innovation in the way businesses are managed and led in the next decade or two. While three discrete roles are optimal, one person could play multiple roles, and the people fulfilling these roles could also have other responsibilities.
Step 3: Launch a digital business centre of excellence
Create a digital business center of excellence (COE) to provide input, advice and opportunities for the collaborative formation of a digital strategy and the collaborative advice, innovations and capabilities needed for execution.
“Start by accessing digital opportunities,” said Ken McGee, vice president and Gartner Fellow. “Examine your strengths, weaknesses and potential opportunities and identify new technologies and how they might pose a potential threat. Engage people from throughout the enterprise and, more importantly, from outside the enterprise and industry, such as current and potential users, as well as recognized and unrecognized thinkers, both associated with and orthogonal to the focus of your enterprise’s main vision.
“Assessing opportunities and especially threats start with identifying what you have not yet thought about — a task that requires requisite variety to ask new questions and suggest new ways of thinking about the issues such as via co-creation and crowdsourcing.”
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