Transformation was at the top of the priority list for most organizations in 2018, whether it was creating a digital transformation strategy, or beginning to implement that strategy. A month into 2019, it is clear that transformation remains a hot topic, with articles and blogs focused on what is digital transformation anyway, what it means for enterprises, and how it will affect incumbent roles such as the CIO.
In our advisory board work at Farland Group, we speak with global, cross-industry, technology and business leaders, and transformation, including digital transformation, is at the forefront of their minds. While these executives often lead the technology function, they note that technology is not the primary challenge when it comes to transformation. Organizational culture and new ways of working, finding or developing the right skill sets, and the changing needs of the customer and how to meet those needs, were key focus areas raised during our conversations.
Some of the biggest challenges seen in transformation initiatives are the new ways of working and the organizational culture change required. If those leading lack context and knowledge, the organization defaults to old familiar ways of working and ineffective processes, hindering change initiatives. Increasingly as organizations move to digital business, the needs of customers will also change; some clients shared that the role of the CIO and potentially others in the c-suite will need to morph to enable organizations meet the new demands.
Leaders we spoke with see transformation as a multi-year journey that involves new ways of thinking and doing; putting together multi-disciplinary teams is imperative to deliver a delightful client experience. Transformation initiatives require the right skill sets that can span many functional areas from technology, product, marketing and project management. We have also heard how important it is to work with partners and vendors who will co-create with an organization and evolve as the transformation work evolves. The client-vendor relationship in transformation work is critical in keeping the teams focused on the right goals in a rapidly shifting environment.
2019 is already off to a great start; we look forward to hearing more perspectives on transformation and the ways that leaders are taking on this challenge.