What it Means to be Digital

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Andrew Wilson, CIO, Accenture, gives seven tips on how to succeed with a digital strategy

By Stefanie McCann, Editor, Connected Futures

Driving Digital Transformation. It seems to be in every headline, every discussion, and the goal of most organizations. But what does it really mean to be digital?

For Andrew Wilson, CIO of Accenture, it has a specific meaning.

"It’s an organization where IT acts as an orchestrator and consultant to the business, successfully embedding digital into every fiber of the organization, from collaboration and communication capabilities, to workforces and business processes."

Andrew Wilson, CIO, Accenture, believes in embedding digital into every fiber of an organization.

But there are challenges. Perhaps the biggest challenge with digital transformation is the extreme pace that companies need to move to become digital.

“The CIO can’t be slow to adopt new technology. What used to take quarters and years now takes hours and minutes,” says Wilson.

He went on to say that the way technology is consumed, and the extent to which it touches the business, is accelerating like never before.

And he should know. Wilson has been with Accenture, a $30 billion, 336,000 person global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company since 2004, and serving as the organization’s CIO since 2013.

In his role, Wilson sees a lot of changes, which is why he embraces new market certainties such as digitization.

Gartner estimates that by 2020, 75% of businesses will be digital, or have digital business transformations underway. However, only 30% of those efforts will be successful.

How do companies ensure they’re part of that 30%? Wilson offers seven tips on how to embrace and become a successful digital disruptor, as well as answers questions on driving digital transformation:

 

 

1. Why now? The days of going to work, logging into your computer, working, then going home are gone. The blending of work and life means that technology scale, scope and complexity are emerging at once. The way technology is consumed, and the extent to which it touches the business, is accelerating like never before. For example, technologies such as mobility, cloud, analytics, video, wearables and more are helping to drive our ability to become digital organizations.

 

2. What is the right strategy? When building your digital strategy, your first step is to decide who is responsible. Second, you need to define your digital strategy. Your company needs a business strategy, a commercial strategy, a marketing strategy, and a digital strategy. That digital strategy needs to span across the entire business.

3. What skills matter most? CIOs need to learn new skills and business strategies, which is not the same as a technology strategy. There has never been a better time to be a technologist with relevant new skills.

4. Who gets to be the digital disruptor? Digital disruption is the CIO’s role. The CIO needs to be opinionated and disruptive. The digital CIO has to understand the business. There’s never been a better time to be in IT, serving as consultants to the business and guiding the organization through more technology disruption than ever before.

5. How do you find the right talent? A company needs a talent strategy because technology is so pervasive. CIOs need to have the ability to attract and retain the right form of talent. How do you attract and retain talent when you have to compete with the next start up for that talent? This challenge has become more pronounced than ever before.

6. What’s the right organizational structure? Today, there is no single structure that is right or wrong. Some structures many need to be re-evaluated, while others may need to adjust their approach, realizing that technology like the cloud is here to stay and fundamentally changing how we do business.

7. How do you measure success? Fail fast. Gather feedback, re-tool and report on wins. Place a few bets— identify which enabler, platform, or next idea is worth the investment cycle. Go at a pace that can deliver at scale, but quickly enough to be relevant to the business.

 

Wilson also sees that digital organizations need to change how they operate. Accenture produces close to 200 managed video broadcasts each month for communicating to a distributed workforce. “This is an example of how companies are changing the behavior of their organizations,” says Wilson.

In the end, Wilson is extremely optimistic about this new digital era.

“We are re-writing the rule book right now,” he says. “The opportunities are limitless, the future is bright and the possibilities are endless.”

More Information: The Internet of Everything creates unprecedented opportunities for countries, cities, industries, and businesses to become digital. Learn more how you can be ready for this digital transformation.