Now celebrating its tenth anniversary, PwC’s Global Digital IQ Survey speaks to business executives around the world to uncover what it takes to successfully harness the power of digital. What have we learnt?
Much has changed over the last decade. Now, most modern organisations recognise digital technology as integral to business strategy as well as operations, increasingly giving roles such as CIO and CDO a seat at the table. But success doesn’t just rely on deploying the latest technology, it demands bold leadership and a keen focus on the human experience.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, what our survey has uncovered over the years is a direct correlation between financial performance and digital acumen. Here, we distill our learnings from the 2017 report to share ten considerations for all businesses navigating their own journey of transformation.
Define digital through perspectives
Bringing together a range of different perspectives from the outset is crucial to any digital transformation initiative. We see the combination of business, experience and technology (PwC’s BXT method) as necessary ingredients for solving the business challenges of today. Involve executives from disciplines across the organisation – including business strategy, design, innovation and technology – in a strategy session to develop a shared perspective on digital priorities, backed up by the leadership and organisational roles needed to drive the effort.
Assess your digital technology investments
Technology spending doesn’t just live within the IT function. In fact, chances are, most investment is occurring outside of that department. Take stock of your full scope of technology spend across the organisation and how each ties back to your digital roadmap – again, this may require the attention of a diverse set of stakeholders.
Sustain the digital dialogue
It’s not just leadership: the whole organisation should be behind your digital strategy, too. Engage with people across every function to communicate how technology will change the way they work or deliver value. The conversation about how digital is changing your business also extends to your customers and partners.
Make emerging tech a priority
Emerging tech should be viewed by leadership as a core competency of the organisation, not just a side project. That way, it stands a chance of having lasting impact on the business as a whole. There’s nothing like some hands-on experience for bringing the potential of new ideas to life, so aim to demo the technology to leadership where possible.
Appoint an emerging tech evangelist
To keep innovation firmly on the agenda, it helps to have a person that’s mandated to drive emerging tech initiatives. They need the backup of broad support and the expertise of other executives that will help scout, experiment and ultimately use emerging technology to solve business problems.
Focus on the human experience
Don’t be blindsided by tech alone: the customer or employee experience should always be kept front of mind. Developing a high-quality user experience is a critical component of maximising Digital IQ, and issues such as trust and transparency increasingly poignant.
Develop a scouting plan
There are a range of sources to help you identify how and where emerging technology can make a difference. Look broadly: this could mean engaging with the startup ecosystem and university labs, or participating in open source development projects as well as reading the usual analyst reports, white papers and technology publications.
Create an environment conducive to learning and collaboration
Enabling teams from a cross section of specialisms to easily collaborate – either physically or virtually – is key to establishing a common working language and shared goals. This in turn enables greater cohesion and increased efficiency, because people from diverse backgrounds can better communicate in a fast moving environment.
Educate your executives
Leadership needs to have a good understanding of how digital technology can help or hurt the business, including its impact on the employee and customer experience. Address the skills gap from the top by engaging executives in the technology, the people building with it, as well as encouraging learning through other channels.
Train your workforce
One of the most pressing concerns for CEOs everywhere is the shortage of skills in the market. Employees need to be upskilled in areas that support the harnessing of new technology, as well as innovation and collaboration (for example, agile approaches or design thinking).