The Digital Discussion: It Starts in the Boardroom

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Everybody in the boardroom needs to be a digital leader. Anything less is mal-governance

By Stefanie McCann, Editor, Connected Futures

If organizations want to evolve and survive in this next era of business, they must become digital entities. And they must do it at the speed of light.

According to a recent report called, The Digital Vortex, by the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation, Digital disruption has the potential to reshape markets faster than perhaps any force in history.

But what does digital disruption really mean? And what are the implications, challenges and the benefits to achieving that state of being truly digital?

Those organizations that have winning digital journeys will be able to quickly react to market changes – almost in real time. But to do this, they must let go of the old way of thinking and old way of doing business. They must embrace change.

“The digital age is not just the industrial era on technology steroid. It’s a fundamental shift,” said Ade McCormack, a digital strategist.

Being digital means understanding how to turn technology and information into business value. But to do this well, organizations must scrap their old ways and develop new business models.

But that’s not all they need to do, companies must make it simple and seamless for their customers, employees, citizens and partners to access information. “Organizations that fight what their customers naturally want to do, what their staff naturally wants to do, are going to have big problems,” said McCormack during the recording of a podcast for Connected Futures.

“That’s because the more value you deliver to your customer, the more value you will create for your enterprise,” said Thornton May during the same podcast recording. May is a Futurist and Author.

But that’s not the only hurdle. One of the biggest problems to becoming truly digital is the high-level of infrastructural change required. According to McCormack, this means, “The CEO needs to invest very heavily. But most CEOs are driven by the current quarter.”

But changing the corporate mindset is a huge challenge. The CEO must be able to see beyond how the business is run today, and allow for the adoption, transformation and journey to digital.

Where does the discussion start? Who is going to be responsible for digital when many Fortune 500 companies don’t have IT represented in the boardroom?

“For some organizations, digital is a word they want to talk about in the boardroom, but they don’t want to involve the CIO,” said McCormack. “CIOs have the potential to be that leader of digital,” he continued.

And May agreed. “The number one challenge facing organizations is that everybody in the boardroom needs to be digitally savvy. The tragedy is nobody in the boardroom is digitally savvy.”  

There is some debate as to which C-level executive is going to lead the charge to digital, and who in the organization has the expertise, but May sees it this way. “Everybody in the boardroom needs to be a digital leader. Anything less is mal-governance.”

Click here listen to this dynamic discussion in its entirety with Ade McCormack and Thornton May.