Software Company SQL View

CEO and Digital transformation

Changes in tide overnight

We have seen many innovations and technological breakthroughs changing the tides overnight. We saw digital cameras ending the dominance of Kodak’s films. We saw Nokia’s function phones being overtaken by smartphones. We saw the uprising of online shopping portals such as Amazon seizing huge revenue pies from physical stores. Companies that do not transform in time risk becoming obsolete.

John Chambers, retiring Cisco CEO predicted 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 is the change in business activities, models and competencies in order to leverage on the availability of new technologies.

Shareholders and boards are looking for CEOs that can drive practical digital transformations to get ahead or simply just to stay relevant in this fast changing market.

Culture. The one place to start with

Whether you are heading a small startup or a MNC, we recommend building an innovative culture as foundation for digital transformation. A culture will keep things rolling without you having to push and pull and every turn.

Just like how children follows the footsteps of parents and seek to earn their affirmations; the way how top management embraces new ideas and technology will be mirrored by employees.

Be Curious

Be curious about the latest in technology and methodology. Read up and understand what they can achieve and if they are relevant to your industry. Example Big Data, Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence etc.

Be curious also about the methodologies of successful enterprises and startups. Many of them have generously shared the systems and software used to achieve success.

Discuss these with your people, let them know that the CEO is interested.

Set up a team

If resource permits, a team or department can be set aside to focus on innovative problem solving.  This may entail disrupting employees from their existing job functions, pulling them into this team for a short period of 6- 12 months. A proper HR process flow has to be in place to support this.

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

Reward the process, not the outcome

Reward people base on efforts 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, where the emphasis is not to get things right on the first time but to efficiently test hypothesises and pivot until success is realised.

The culture of leaning and sharing between the staff and departments

Encourage sharing and set up platforms to facilitate sharing. The innovations from one department can likely be improvised and adapted to another. The software tools, agencies or vendors discovered by one department may benefit others. Reward the department that shares as well as the department that is humble to learn.

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