Digital transformation: an analyst’s view

As the role of information in business evolves, so must the CIO. CIOs must take a digital leadership role – despite the business and career risks.

The recent excellent GDS Group CIO Summit, hosted at the Marriott Westminster Hotel, Denver on April 18-20, 2016, generated highly constructive debates amongst its senior delegation. While a large number of challenges and approaches to digital transformation were discussed, certain questions, solution approaches and challenges repeatedly emerged as key topics – amongst them, using powerful digital technologies to accelerate business innovation.


Markets are forcing and technology is enabling global digital business transformation. Customers are catalyzing the changes, demanding that brands extend engagement models to include digital mechanisms across channels and interactions. Emerging capabilities are fundamentally altering the B2B engagement models. These changes are not limited to digital engagement. Digital technologies are impacting all areas of the business.


Why does business have to focus on digital innovation?

Digital innovation still means many things to many people. At the Summit, CIOs highlighted everything from “paperless transactions” to “multi-channel engagement” as the basis for digital innovation.


How will technology groups have to change to respond?

Any company’s response to digital transformation is dependent on its starting position. Generally, CIOs at the Summit agreed that Agile is part of the IT response, but many continue to evaluate how deep to embed Agile into IT practices, given legacy, industry, and other considerations.


What will be the CIOs role during digital transformation?

Enterprises lack digital leadership. Most of the attendees expressed greater comfort in a technology role, focusing on adoption of new technologies and educating the business about technology possibilities. Despite the alignment of digital and information, CIOs remain skittish about taking on the digital mantle for their business.


The CIO role must evolve with the emergence of digital business. Customers are laying new digital claims on all institutions, which is reshuffling competition and positions across all sectors. The CIO Summit calls to action for CIOs are clear: (1) lead digital change; (2) invest in new Agile capabilities; and (3) encourage — ideally, accelerate — business innovation using powerful digital technologies.


Peter Burris is Vice President for SiliconAngle Media, a professional service company that provides news, analysis on the technology industry with a focus on innovation, technology, emerging companies, enterprise, cloud, mobile, social, startups, and venture capital.

GDS Group hosts experts to help experts. We strive to provide an atmosphere for our attendees that enables them to confidently lead their companies through major transformation projects. For information on upcoming events, view our Technology Summits and Executive Events. To remain current on our activities, visit GDS Group on LinkedIn Facebook | Twitter.


This article is based on the findings of SiliconAngle Media.