Digitization can be painful, and the corporate landscape is rife with individuals who consciously or unconsciously will fight it. Why? Because it goes against business-as-usual. It smashes silos and shares valuable information. And, the efficiencies and value it delivers could ultimately mean the dissolution of entire departments.
What is one of the first departments on digitization’s proverbial chopping block? It’s the same one that 67 percent of companies put in charge of digitization itself*: IT. But giving IT leadership over digitization is the equivalent of putting a bunch of taxi drivers in charge of marketing Uber, and then being surprised when they do a mediocre job.
Being digital is as much a state of mind as it is a state of technology. Leadership must originate at the very top of an organization to inspire every department to get on board and to ensure the effort is holistic. C-suite-level leadership also prevents potential corporate antibodies from unintentionally sabotaging digitization in an effort to preserve status quo.
- The top two enablers of digitization are “ownership of the initiative” at 41% and “C-suite sponsorship” at 38%, both valued more important than 11 other factors, including “funding/budget” and “technical knowledge.”
Organizations must think beyond technical know-how in assigning digital leadership. In fact, being a digital leader doesn’t require an IT-department level of tech expertise. What it does require is perseverance and a steadfast vision to lead through the discomfort of digitization. It requires emotional intelligence to empower the most advanced parts of their organization to be digital trailblazers, using their successes to promote a cultural commitment to a new digital way of life. And it requires a willingness to start small and prove by doing, ever marching toward the glory of an end-to-end digital framework.
Digitization is a team sport. And in what is arguably the most important game for business this decade, let your IT department be the star player, but make your CEO the coach.