When James McPartland took on the CIO role at Torchmark Corporation in 2014, he had a big task before him: Show the rest of the business that IT could help drive growth.
Creating digital roadmaps: CIOs play a key role
As organizations grapple with digital transformation, CIOs can provide unique help shaping and executing on digital plans
3. Build a digital offerings platform. No matter how good you are at operational processes, you need to understand that digital customer value propositions are about enriching your products with information and technology. You need to create business and technology components (like data repositories, algorithms, visualization tools, and user authentication) that you can reuse to constantly enhance and customize your customer offerings. This will be a new technology and data environment that has different organizational demands from your operational backbone.
4. Redesign your company. Most companies rely on organizational structure to dictate how work will get done. But structure is a pretty terrible tool for ensuring that a company recognizes and responds to new business opportunities. It divides works into tasks and creates unnatural silos that limit everyone’s understanding of the customer. Digital companies move quickly because they depend more on clear roles and accountabilities than structure to ensure that work gets done.
5. Expand your ecosystem. Digital not only enables — it requires — that companies rethink customer value propositions. Those value propositions address not what customers want to buy, but what problems or needs they face. Invariably, providing solutions rather than products or services will mean offering services that the company is not fully equipped to provide. Partnerships will be key to delivering many new customer value propositions.
The CIO's critical role
These five steps are enterprise-wide efforts, but CIOs can provide critical leadership.
In companies like BNY Mellon and Northwestern Mutual, the IT organization was the first to redesign its accountabilities and processes to meet the demands of digital offerings. They have developed methodologies that embrace a “test and learn” approach to introducing digital offerings. These methodologies embrace agile development, cross-functional teams, and the concept of minimum viable product.
At companies like Schindler and Schneider Electric, the CIO evangelized the importance of both efficient operational processes and reusable business components for delivering new digital offerings. They have led the initiatives that have established strong core systems and processes, and they have mapped out critical components for their digital offerings platforms. They have hired strong technologists to create powerful digital capabilities that their companies rely on for their digital offerings.
Finally, at most companies that are aggressively pursuing digital value propositions, the CIO is evangelizing the need for change. Progress starts with a recognition of the need for change — and a commitment to a digital transformation by the CIO.
Jeanne Ross will be speaking on the topic “Articulating Your Digital Vision” at the 2018 MIT CIO Symposium in Cambridge, Massachusetts on May 23. For more information or to register to attend the Symposium, please click here.