6 Group was recently engaged by a global metals manufacturing company to secure a Global CIO that would take ownership of their ambitious automation and digitalisation agenda.
We took the opportunity to delve into how senior IT leaders view the impact of digitalisation and automation on the wider business. When we asked one of the CIOs what the biggest factor was for successfully delivering large-scale IT transformation projects in his roles, his answer was concise: “You're only as good as your team.” Of course, it can be interpreted that he was referring to the existing knowledge in his IT team, how they keep up with market innovations, or how fast they can respond to technical queries from the business. But when we asked him for more details on what he meant by this, his view was that it’s imperative that you see your company as your team, particularly when it comes to automation and digitalisation.
As important as it is to have a highly skilled IT organisation, if the company as a whole doesn’t have an appetite for or isn’t experienced enough in terms of digital maturity, attempts at digitalisation or automation are bound to be less than successful.
Achieving digital maturity might seem like an abstract concept but, according to the MIT Sloan Management Review and their interviews with over 3,500 managers and executives, there are some key practices that companies worldwide are utilising. Below are the themes which correlated with our own research during our Global CIO search project:
- Encouraging cross-functional workplace innovation. Most of the CIOs we held an in-depth conversation with said their most successful automation-focused projects were run by IT and business stakeholders in collaboration. This involved the initial analysis, road map creation, and implementation.
- Long-term strategic goals. Whilst digitalisation is an attractive goal, most IT leaders we spoke to said that challenges they had to overcome were mostly due to the link between digitalisation and the wider business goals not being clear rather than cost or difficulty in implementing alone. One CIO we engaged with gave us an example of how she brought in operational and business colleagues from companies that had already gone through this process to better explain to her business partners what the benefits have been for them. This peer to peer approach proved successful and set the scene for a more collaborative environment moving forward.
- Demonstrate “proof of concept”. Even in a digitally mature business, it can be challenging to demonstrate the potential benefits of implementing a global, company-wide digital transformation. It was clear for the CIOs we interviewed that creating a smaller scale, more achievable plan would not only cement their credibility and the usefulness of automation, but it would also give them time and resources to “educate” the rest of the business on the benefits of such a project.
- Attracting the right talent. When talking about talent, it’s not all about the IT talent that leads the transformation, but a decisive factor to the success of a digitalisation agenda is the wider organisation and their openness to adapting to new ways of working. To achieve that goal, CIOs and business leaders alike told us that having a strong brand to attract innovative individuals and being able to constantly upskill your staff is essential.
Accessing great digital talent
6 Group is a global search and talent intelligence firm with a key focus on the digital talent market. Through our search, mapping and pipelining capabilities, we work with you to empower your access to exceptional digital talent worldwide.
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