Building your Digital Transformation Strategy: Going Beyond Finance
Defining Your Digital Transformation Strategy
Digital Transformation is coming, it is inescapable and change only accelerates year on year. With technology continuing to disrupt the business landscape, firms need to develop an effective digital transformation strategy in order to harness its potential to drive growth through creating an efficient workplace.
When approaching the topic of digital transformation, the majority of firms are hit by three core questions.
- What is digital transformation?
- How can we implement it?
- Who should lead it?
So far, numerous and often contradictory answers have been offered for each of these questions but none seem to answer where the responsibility lies.
An Interoute survey conducted this year indicated that 51% of IT leaders saw their digital transformation strategies stalled by C-suite leaders, because they were unwilling to support the changes to their digital strategy. Clearly, in order for change to be implemented effectively, it needs to come from the top.
Over the course of 2017, Norman Broadbent Interim Management have witnessed an increased desire for Interim leaders who specialise in and champion digital transformation projects. This was primarily tied to the high impact mentality that is often associated with Interim executives and the broad breadth of experience they can offer
The question then becomes ‘who is best poised to champion that change?’ The answer might not be what you think.
Who should build your Digital Transformation Strategy?
According to an IFS Digital Transformation Survey, the majority of decision makers considered the CIO as most responsible for digital transformation at 40% – followed by the CEO and CFO at 39% and 35% respectively and the CTO and CMO trailing far behind at 20% to 6%.
The report showcases a disarrayed image of constant pushing and pulling between the core C-suite leaders.
Indeed while some firms might find their CEO adequately placed to lead their digital transformation strategy, there is a growing case to be made that responsibility should lie with the CFO.
How do you find a CFO with the correct leadership traits best suited to lead transformation projects?
This is where Interim comes in. Interim management has become the natural option for leadership teams, not only in keeping digital transformation projects alive but embedding new ways of working.
New ways of working may be implemented through effective knowledge transfer to the management team – ensuring the digital solution is fit for purpose and measurable against the organisation’s commercial objectives. Interim CFOs who can combine the necessary high impact mindset of an Interim executive with the thought process of a CFO are ideal. This is an area where many clients have experienced consultancies to be less effective.
Digital transformation projects often start with the ability to capture, integrate, easily access, and analyse high-quality data. This has, in particular, impacted the financial function in an age where information changes rapidly and the market is more competitive than ever.
CFOs are forced to balance regulatory controls and a focus on the bottom line, all while acting as advisors to the business. Digital transformation has, and is, changing the way in which CFOs acquire and analyse this data.
By first focusing on these processes, digital transformation offers an enhanced user experience, providing quicker and greater payback. The results of this change can then be transferred into wider digital projects within the business.
CFOs have the ability to forge a digital transformation strategy that focuses primarily on cost effectiveness, rather than the traditional focus of operationally-driven strategies. This helps avoid the issue of having to balance budgetary restrictions and optimise business performance through new technologies. Furthermore, by placing responsibility upon the CFO, with their focus on the bottom line and cost effectiveness, the ROI and revenue benefits are often greater than before.
Whilst transformation and change might not be concepts you’d associate with a CFO, they are without a doubt the C-suite leaders best poised to act as a central pivot for digital transformation. Clients now opt for the security of recruiting interim professionals who can advise, lead and mentor the leadership team in adopting the right digital transformation strategy and help take their business on a digital journey.
If you would like to find out how Norman Broadbent Interim can help your organisation, please contact Jonathan Stringer, Director, Norman Broadbent Interim, for an initial confidential discussion.
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