Beyond department boundaries: Information strategy in the digital transformation age

BrandPost By Ima Buxton
May 31, 2017
IT Leadership

Digital transformation is fundamentally changing the way companies do their business. IDC finds it imperative that companies need to rethink their business and lay the foundation for digital success by focusing on their information strategy.

Digital transformation must span across the entire organization, IDC urges CIOs and IT leaders in its InfoBrief “Leading in digital”, sponsored by the software company SAP. For the survey that is the basis for the InfoBrief, IDC interviewed over 1,000 IT executives in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, providing a highly profound assessment of digitalization strategies and approaches across all industries.

As digital transformation involves dedicated efforts across multiple dimensions, it can’t merely be a task assigned to a single department or function. A cross-company approach is needed, especially as unlike the “digital disruptors” – companies with an entirely digital business model such as Uber, Airbnb, or Netflix – most organisations need to go through a transformation process of the company as such.

The business drive and pressure is high, IDC argues: over 70 percent of businesses expect a return on investment (ROI) for their digital ventures within two years, making close cooperation even more of a necessity. In three years, almost 50 percent
of organizations seek to derive 10 to 30 percent of revenues from digital initiatives launched today. A clear sign of the maturity of business transformation processes across all industries.

But why is it so important to get everyone on board? Because the novel business models are based upon the maturity of their information strategy and this involves processes all across the company, IDC states. This is also why 54 percent of organizations are creating a digital platform to deliver a data-driven approach to their digital transformation efforts.

The key areas in which organizations can draw most value from the data are around customers, finance, and operations, making them the most critical ingredients to any business model. Digital platforms allow disruptive companies to structure the internal data, combine it with external information sources, and make it available for real-time analysis – a competitive advantage that 81 percent of respondents of an IDC survey believe they would benefit from.

As a consequence, technology needs to be the strategic enabler of these initiatives. The successful digital transformation of organizations will largely depend on how (new) data and information are used in future business models. CIOs – being the technology leaders – can and must take charge by building a digital information architecture that is at the heart of all DX initiatives and involves all departments.

The IDC Infobrief argues that as these processes are not restricted to IT departments but involve the entire enterprise, technology leaders need to get closer to business. Only then can CIOs support the business model transformation, business agility and insight, and be an enabler of new technology-based products and services. On the other hand, as business models go digital, line of business executives will often have to develop a deeper understanding of technology.

So it is really not surprising that the most successful enterprises are able to bridge the gap between business and IT and run their efforts enterprise-wide. This makes an all-time key quality of leadership ever more important: effective communication at the senior leadership level that is the basis of a productive partnership with other executives that are leading digital initiatives.

Download your free copy of IDC’s and SAP’s InfoBrief “Leading in digital” and learn more about the pivotal role of data for your business.

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Further Reading

Create a future-proof IT: The platform approach changes the IT landscape  

Learn from the digital thrivers: 5 recipes that give CIOs guidance on how to flourish in digital transformation initiatives

Enable live business: Provide a basis for innovation and customer centricity – with a digital platform