by Blair Shiver

Empower IT to lead digital transformation

Aug 09, 2017
CIODigital TransformationIT Leadership

Business innovation is no longer just for the C-suite. Enabling IT to take a lead will boost organizations into the new competitive landscape.

butterfly with gears above flower transformation
Credit: Thinkstock

The consumerization of IT has completely changed expectations for service delivery across the business, and nimble CIOs know the only way to help keep their companies competitive is to extend an olive branch across lines of business and ensure IT is meeting the needs of a company’s users and customers. 

In the Technology Services Industry Association’s (TSIA) 2017 State of Support Services report (pdf), TSIA executive director Thomas Lah said the technology industry is in the first phase of a massive industry transformation that will play out over the next three to five years. 

“At the end of this transformation, technology business models and organizational structures will look markedly different,” he wrote.

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Support organizations, the report suggests, will lead a company’s customer experience strategy, but the effort must include cross-functional key stakeholders and should be led by marketing.

Examples of IT leading digital transformation

CIOs are no longer the dictators of technology solutions that enable a company’s employees to do their job.

Five years ago, Derek Kruse brought his experience as a Divisional CIO with IBM to his role leading the shared IT services division for Douglas County and the City of Omaha in Nebraska.

An organization’s approach to culture and service delivery is the “secret sauce” to effectively managing change leadership, Kruse said emphatically.

“IT can no longer interact with the business with the mentality that ‘You’re lucky to have these services’ but rather, ‘How can we meet you where you are and maybe even be helpful?’” 

For example, Douglas County’s GIS department wanted to move their website from the traditional, on-premise server that required constant patching and repeatedly fell victim to DDoS attacks over to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. The promise of better performance and pricing prompted the Douglas Omaha Technology Commission (DOTComm) to move head long into the cloud for its 140 websites, and Kruse said it’s completely revolutionized the business. 

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They also went live with Salesforce last October, using the CRM to manage IT service tickets. And Google Docs adoption quickly caught on after IT staff began using them and offered Lunch and Learn training sessions. 

At Dicom Transportation Group in Toronto, CIO Kirk Serjeantson has created a culture within IT that’s resulted in the creation of four new patents for the company. 

One innovation is a mobile app for signing for packages. 

There’s an unspoken, germaphobic angst around using a delivery driver’s mobile device to sign for packages, Serjeantson noted. The suggestion to allow customers to sign for packages on their smart phones and watches within the customer app actually came from someone in Operations and Logistics. 

IT not only improved the customer experience, but the development increased drivers’ productivity, since they no longer had to unload packages and then pull out a device and stylus and wait until customers were available to sign. 

“The battle for transportation will be won and lost in the field of technology, but I think that’s pretty standard is just about any industry,” Serjeantson said. “CIOs have to change.”