ceo role in digital transformation

CEO and Digital transformation

Changes in tide overnight

We have seen too many examples of Innovation and  breakthroughs changing the tide overnight. We see that when digital cameras ended Kodak’s film dominance. We see Nokia’s function phone being affected by the strong sales of  smartphones. We see the uprising of online shopping portals such as Amazon  changing our shopping behaviours. Companies that do not transform in time risk becoming obsolete.

John Chambers, retiring Cisco CEO predicts that 40% of today’s businesses will fail in the next 10 years. 70% will make efforts at Digital Transformation but only 30% will succeed. Source: “Retiring Cisco CEO delivers dire prediction: 40 percent of companies will be dead in 10 years” – Julie Bort, Business Insider, June 2015

In the laps of the CEO

Digital Transformation can drastically impact the business model and bottom line. It has become so huge a concern that it can no longer be contained in the care of the CIO.

Shareholders and boards are looking for CEOs that can drive Digital Transformation. Hopefully to find the next pot of gold from Digital Transformation or simply just to stay relevant in the changing market.

Culture. The one place to start with

Whether you are heading a small startup or a MNC, building the innovative culture is the first stop. It may even be the key thing that will keep the innovative engine running.

We believe Culture is the key driver to Digital  Transformation within the company. Just like how children follows the footsteps of the parents and seek to earn their affirmations; the way you embrace new ideas and technology and how you reward those who does so will be a key driving force.

Be Curious

Be curious about the latest in technology and methodology. Read it up. Example Big Data, Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence etc. Not only the technologies but also the methodologies of startups. (Our Series on Digital Transformation in Singapore is a good place to start. With bite size and succinct information to keep readers informed.)

Set an example to understand and dig deep within them to see how these can be applied to your company. Discuss these with your people. Let them know that the CEO is interested.

Set up a team

If resources permits, a team or department can be set aside to explore innovation.  This may entail disrupting staff from their existing job functions, pulling them into this team for a short period of time e.g. 6- 12 months. A proper HR process flow has to be in place to support this.

Funds should also be set aside for these ventures as it will entail research, surveys and building of minimum viable products to test hypothesis.

Reward the process, not the outcome

Reward the process not the outcome. Reward people based on the effort to explore even if their venture did not result in success. The lessons learnt is success itself. We can reference to the fail fast methodology.

The culture of leaning and sharing between the staff and departments

Encourage sharing and setting up platforms for that to take place. The innovations from one department can likely be improvise and adapted to another. The tools or vendors discovered by one may benefit the other. Reward the department that share as well as the department that is humble with the willingness to learn and implement the ideas from another team.

The above article is part of the Digital Transformation Series by SQL View. Our flagship software KRIS Document Management System has been the cornerstone of Digital Transformation efforts of organisations small and large. Our software can be found in the offices of Far East Organisation, Singapore Post, NTUC and more.