CEO, Global Transform. Lead authority entrepreneurial C-suite leadership. Listed Global 100 CIO, 100 Women to Watch, CREA Global Award List.
Along with ensuring the technology operation runs smoothly, digitizing business is a key technology concern across industries. The boardroom expectation is that the technology operation meets service standards and cybersecurity protocols.
Nonetheless, technology-based businesses are reliant on the next stage of digitization to realize their business strategy and to drive value through enhanced customer experience and streamlined operations. What they are not focused enough on, though, is the effect of digitization in terms of societal, lifestyle and community impact.
Digitize With Care
Success in digitization requires technology expertise, product expertise and customer insight.
The ability to digitize interactions quickly is, of course, one indicator of effective digitization. The illusion of speed, however, is often apparent when digitization removes key customer interactions where the customer would prefer to have a conversation. This can lead to digitizing away the opportunity to deepen the customer relationship, and other equally important revenue-generation opportunities can also disappear from the lack of these direct conversations.
Client-focused areas of the organization are meanwhile exploring ways to create customer and client interactions. In a virtual environment, this is shifting the norm of how to build strength of relationship with customers and resetting the definition of loyalty. In other words, the reality of ensuring connectivity in enterprise digitization is changing companies’ business models.
Boardrooms also recognize the reality of their technology organizations implementing solutions with a focus on the speed of implementation. More than impacting the modus operandi of the organization, some technology functions are even moving the organization away from market advantage.
We often hear, for example, that “a better technology solution is being implemented.” This is a stark reminder of the Betamax story. Betamax was a consumer-level analog recording format based on magnetic tape for the video cassette recorder. Betamax became obsolete when customers adopted VHS. This was not for the want of leading-edge technology, but rather the difference in adoption. The similarities with today’s world of digitization are striking.
CEO Views In A Technology-Based World
CEOs of technology-based organizations are realizing that the focus on operationally savvy technology is essential, which is leading to the digital refresh of technology leadership. As a result, the technology teams of the future have a very different ask within the day job. Remaining up to date on the next generation of code is only part of the story.
For technology leaders, the reality is that there is a raised expectation taking laggard organizations by surprise. The good news is that this is an excellent opportunity to grow and nurture talent within the technology function. Moreover, as next-generation CEOs are increasingly technology-savvy, the impact of digitization is having a profound impact on the marketplace of successful organizations.
Societal Impact: The Law Of Unintended Consequences
Even more profoundly, the impacts of digitization are being realized at a societal level.
With many activities being digitized, there is limited requirement for social interaction in daily activities. For customers wanting a conversation, for example, organization’s have removed the ability to speak to a service center. This has both emphasized the requirement for first-time digital processing of customer requests but also the requirement for organizations to recognize the impact on communities and the requirement for reskilling social capabilities in a digitized world.
While this can have a beneficial impact in terms of allowing more time for other activities, it also raises the awareness of the impact of digitization on the well-being of society as interactions are directed to websites, applications and portals. Both scenarios must be considered in building the next generation digital future.
The Pivotal Position Of The Technology Leader
As leaders increasingly digitize business operations, digitization activity is reshaping the customer experience, evolving lifestyles and reshaping how time is utilized within daily life. This re-emphasizes the requirement for quality of digitization, ensuring cyber safety and a seamless customer experience.
Equally important, the focus on the changes to daily life remains central to the societal impact of aggregated digital implementation. As experiences are being designed, it remains essential to consider the implications on daily life and the surrounding interventions that may be required to ensure balanced lifestyles, well-being and the implications of designing the lives of the next generation of society.
Digitization holds a lot of positives as it simplifies daily life, creates straight-through processing and timely action of customer and client requests. However, it is important to keep a healthy balance and ensure the implications of a digitized world, with hybrid working and reduced requirement to travel for face-to-face interactions.
As organizational leaders, it remains crucial to ensure that we support the ability for society to maximize the benefits of digitization while minimizing unintended implications. Within the boardroom there is a digitization balance that must be struck to ensure the firm delivers at a local, organizational and societal level.