8 Hot Digital Transformation Skills Every CIO Must Learn

Last updated on September 20th, 2021

Digital transformation has its perks that might encourage you to jump on the bandwagon. Despite its advantages, digital transformation is not for everyone. It has its fair share of challenges that you might encounter. Additionally, it demands a specific skill set and streamlined business processes. 

Leadership also plays an important role in the success or failure of your digital transformation efforts. CIO needs to lead from the front when digitally transforming your business. This would only be possible if you have the right skills and approach. IT leaders need those skills in order to speed up their digital transformation initiatives.

In this article, you will learn about eight digital transformation skills that are in high demand and every CIO must learn to succeed at digital transformation.

Here are some of the digital transformation skills that every CIO must learn.

1. Strategic Vision

Just like any other leader, a digital transformational leader should also have a clear vision. Having a clear vision is not enough especially if you don’t have a well-thought-out strategy to achieve your digital transformation goals. As a digital transformation leader, you also need foresight into the direction the company will be heading in the future so you can use technology to your advantage to eliminate friction and roadblocks from your digital transformation journey. This also gives you an opportunity to be a part of and have your say in the company’s strategic decisions, which usually come from top management and board members.

2. Confidence and Belief

Yugal Joshi, Vice President of digital, cloud, and application services research at Everest Group said, “CIOs must have faith in their capabilities to convince others on their role to the leadership.” If they lack confidence in their own abilities, how can they lead effectively? You guessed it right, They can’t.

CIOs must have faith in their capabilities to convince others on their role to the leadership

Yugal Joshi, Vice President, Information Technology Services at Everest Group

According to him…

One of the main reason organizations were forced to create new roles such as Chief transformation officer and chief digital officer is because CIOs were too afraid to take bold decisions. Whether it is day to day operations or making long term decisions, this trend was evident. CIOs need to work on improving their self belief and emotional intelligence to succeed.

3. Collaboration

Gone are the days when different functional units of a business work independently as a separate entity. Today, the lines between different business units are blurred to the point where it is hard to distinguish between them. This is due to cross-collaboration between departments and ditching silos in organizations.

Digital transformation experts suggest that you need a solid digital culture where a leader plays an important role in bringing different stakeholders from various disciplines together on the same page. This will improve alignment and collaboration between different functional units of your organization. Executing collaborative processes is not as easy as solo processes, as you might also come across diverse challenges, which you will have to overcome to ensure that the collaboration process keeps functioning properly.

4. Business Process Knowledge

If you think digital transformation is all about technology, you have got it all wrong. There is much more to digital transformation than just technology. Digital transformation leaders should also be able to bring continuous improvements to the business process, test new operating models to identify whether any of them are worth implementing. All this would not be possible without in-depth knowledge about business processes. Having a comprehensive understanding of your business environment can also help you visualize who will be impacted by the digital transformation the most. Without understanding the key business drivers, you will never be able to succeed with digital transformation.

5. Customer Experience 

As consumer technology matures, we see the emergence of new tools and platforms facilitating businesses in delivering a great customer experience. This has also led to a shift in customer expectations from brands as they are more demanding than ever before. IT leaders should take these changes into consideration especially when they have to fulfill strict enterprise technology requirements. Use the power of descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics to deliver an exceptional customer experience through design and product delivery. Use the best dedicated server to deliver an unmatched user experience.

6. Change Management

Whenever you talk about digitally transforming your organization, you are bound to face some resistance. Did you know why people resist change? Because they are comfortable in their existing environment and don’t want to start from scratch, learn new skills and adjust to a completely new ecosystem. Apart from resistance, you will also experience fear, conflicts and an even higher employee turnover rate when you push your digital transformation initiatives. That is where change management comes into play.

Change management was previously associated with other disciplines but today, it has become an integral part of digital transformation. CIOs must have knowledge of change management frameworks (like the ADKAR Model) and communication.  You need to adopt a structured approach to change and make changes in both your internal and external processes. This will allow you to align resources to support the change and assist you in understanding the impact of change.

7. Financial Management

According to Seth Robinson, who is the senior director of technology analysis at the technology association at CompTIA, “One of the most important new skills for today’s CIO is calculating the return on investment for strategic IT” With more and more businesses webmail looking at IT as a tactical cost center, you must have a sound knowledge of business objectives, digital transformation requirements and return on your IT investment in order to manage finances and justify the spending. 

8. Growth Mindset

When you are leading a digital transformation initiative, you should be ready to take risks. That is why a CIO that has a growth mindset and is willing to adapt and change is a much better choice than an IT leader who is afraid to take risks. A risk-averse IT leader might struggle with digital transformation because he or she lacks a growth mindset. Always stay in the learning mode and find ways to make continuous improvements to your business process.

Which digital transformation skills are needed to digitally transform your company? Share it with us in the comments section below.

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