Thought Leadership

Exploring The Influential Role Of CIO In Digital Transformation

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Studies suggest that this year, CIOs will shift their purview, strategically guiding their organizations  through digital transformation. It may seem surprising for a CIO to drift outside her or his lane, but consider that companies need to leverage technology now more than ever to gain a competitive advantage over their competitors.

The CIO may select the technology that drives this digital transformation, but the company’s employees are the ones who have to work with the new tools. Thus, the CIO needs to step outside of existing roles and influence the organizational culture and employee mindset in order to support corporate digital transformation. Learn more about how CIOs can influence digital transformation and take charge in this important process.

Digital Strategy and Organizational Structure 

Before exploring the CIOs impact on digital transformation, let’s look at the relationship between the organization, its structure and the transformation process.

Companies know they need to boost their investments in technology, yet many businesses have a fear of disruptive change. These companies would rather test the waters and take it slow than go all-in on new, innovative solutions. Other times, the C-suite executives who are making decisions don’t connect the adoption of digital transformation with organizational structure because the two don’t seem related.

By taking a step back to consider how everyone will be affected, it becomes clear that digital transformation cannot be completed without employee buy-in. If companies aren’t fully committed to the speed of technological adoption, an underlying cultural shift must accompany the move to digital.

CIOs have historically been tasked with digital transformation, yet they haven’t always been integrated into the business at the level necessary to obtain buy-in. In the current landscape, expect CIOs to take on greater authority over  implementing technologies and influencing the shift in attitudes to embrace this change.

Digital Transformation and the CIO

While every company is different — therby requiring a different approach — CIOs should dive into the organization’s mission and vision, looking for leading values that match the priorities of a shift to digital. They can then talk about technological adoption from a value- or mission-driven perspective to make the case for why it matters.

When employees understand how a new software aligns with the company’s stated goals, mission or values, they are more likely to get on board. This all-important buy-in could speed acceptance and comfort with the pace of technological adoption.

Working in partnership with Human Resources, CIOs can evaluate desired work behaviors and processes, then select the technology that best supports ideal work. By selecting technology that correlates strongly with desired processes, CIOs can shape the organizational structure while giving employees tools that streamline their workflows. When employees realize that the chosen technology can make their work easier, they’re more likely to trust and support the next round of changes.

Transforming company culture is a process. CIOs should anticipate mixed reactions until transformation gains momentum, at which point the pace of change can accelerate.

Measuring Company Culture in Preparation for Change

Given the importance and correlation between organizational culture and digital transformation, one question remains: How do companies measure their current culture to determine what needs to shift?

Humantelligence can help. We offer a 12-minute self-assessment for employees designed to measure engagement, motivation, cognitive behavior and ideal working styles. While employees can use their self-assessments to explore career goals, CIOs can map aggregate data for an overhead view of organizational culture that allows them to make high-level decisions about cultural shifts.

By comparing the company values to employee self-assessment data, CIOs can uncover where alignment exists and where gaps may hamper digital transformation. Once a CIO understands the gaps to transformation, she or he can create a plan to move the culture toward one that embraces digital shifts. When hiring, HR and Talent Acquisition can look for candidates with qualities that fit those gaps. When offering professional development, leadership can seek out opportunities to overcome those spaces. And when working together, all employees will have the tools needed to collaborate more effectively. Over time, the broader culture begins to shift to one that welcomes transformation.

This is the year companies change their cultures and leverage technology to lock in a competitive advantage — and the CIO needs to be in the driver’s seat. Stop wondering how your company can create change and see how you can begin measuring and managing for culture fit – while enabling better collaboration. Request a demo today.


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