Translating Digital Transformation Ensuring Strategic Focus

By Kirk Lonbom, Chief Information Officer, State of Illinois

Kirk Lonbom, Chief Information Officer, State of Illinois

A recent round-table of over a dozen CIOs from a diverse collection of private and public-sector companies and organizations was challenged with defining what the term “Digital Transformation” meant to them. While all concurred that digital transformation is intended to positively impact the corporate bottom line or enhance services to customers, the conversation quickly focused on specific technologies, generally lacking a true strategic perspective.

While the exploitation of data analytics, internet-of things, smart-machines, artificial intelligence and mobile-engagement technologies are tools to effectuate digital transformation, technologies change at an ever-increasing rate. Today we may be expanding the use of blockchain and robotic process automation, but our tomorrow is technologically “up for grabs.”

MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte identified the criticality of establishing a digital transformation strategy versus a myopic perspective on technology. Digital transformation scope and objectives definition will truly release the power of a digital transformation strategy.

As part of an overall effort to improve business effectiveness and enhance services to customers in Illinois, a holistic digital transformation strategy that enables ongoing digital evolution is recommended. Our strategic approach to digital transformation considers six transformative goals;

• Leadership Transformation
• Experience Transformation
• Data-Informed Business
• Transformation of Business and Technology Operations
• Worksource Transformation
• An Effective Digital Ecosystem

Leadership Transformation

Leadership must develop the vision for digital transformation; a vision to provide optimal value to our customers, to our employees and to our partners.

A true digital transformation requires executive sponsorship at the highest levels to develop the transformative vision. Once established, joint-ownership of digital transformation by business leaders must be embraced to drive innovation and digital transformation from the business perspective. Continued transformation of the role of the CIO is the key to ensure technology objectives align with the goals of the business.

Experience Transformation

Providing superior products and services and enhancing the digital experience

A digital transformation cannot be successful without focus on the digital experience. In 2011, 35 percent of Americans reported they owned a smart phone of some kind. That number is now around 80 percent. While our younger customers have grown up in a mobile-world, smartphone ownership by Americans over the age of 50 has skyrocketed, and almost 70 percent of Americans over the age of 65 receive their news via a mobile device.

"As part of an overall effort to improve business effectiveness and enhance services to customers in Illinois, a holistic digital transformation strategy that enables ongoing digital evolution is recommended"

It has been said that “many people will remember you for what you did, but everyone will remember you for how you made them FEEL.” For both the private and public sectors, digital interactions with our customers drive our success.

Data-Informed Business

A focused approach to extract and develop the value and utility of information and establish a highly-mature, data-informed business

Information transformation is at the center of digital transformation. We must have a focused approach to develop value from data and turn it into information that can provide value to our customers and empower decision-makers. The rapid change of business and ever-increasing expectations of all of our customers’ demands immediate access to real-time information.

Transformation of Business and Technology Operations

The ability to make business operations more responsive by leveraging digitally connected systems, services, assets, people and stakeholders, while transforming the operations of IT to be more efficient, cost-effective and future ready

The establishment of best-in-class capabilities through innovation and technology facilitates the achievement of our objectives to better serve our customers, optimize the use of resources and continue to build the digital economy. A three-pronged approach can accelerate the transformation of business and technology operations.

1. Improve the business of IT
2. Improve the business through IT
3. Innovate to claim leadership.

Worksource Transformation

The ability to create digitally driven opportunities, while increasing competencies and producing 21st century talent

Workforce transformation must be ongoing and extremely proactive. The opportunities provided by exponential growth of technology-driven capabilities require continual development of our workforce, while creating talent pipelines. In conjunction with the improvement of the business of IT, a worksource perspective is also crucial, as CIOs seek the most effective and efficient ways to deliver innovation and technology capabilities, which may be best provided by external partners.

An Effective Digital Ecosystem

Effecting digitally-inviting policies, prioritizing funding for digital advancement and leveraging the enterprise as a powerful convener of resources

The establishment of an effective digital ecosystem includes efforts to create an inviting environment for innovation. For all organizations, policies must promote innovation and legacy policies and practices that inhibit creativity by our employees must be eliminated.

We encourage all CIOs and other business leaders to ask the question; “What is OUR strategy for digital transformation?” A holistic approach will ensure a foundation for continued growth in the face of an ever-changing technology environment.

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