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5 myths about digital transformation

Mary K. Pratt | June 1, 2017
You've heard what digital transformation is. How about what it isn't? Experts bust through myths about digitizing business operations and explain why IT can't do it alone.

Wolff says those at Stage 4 are the ones capable of transforming their organizations because they have the strategic insight, visibility into their organization, and the ability to sell their visions for what their organizations can be. They aren't the ones invited to the first meeting — they're calling that meeting.

"IT is the business today," says David L. Stevens, the CIO of Maricopa County in Arizona. "I don't mean that sort of arrogantly. They're inseparable."

He says he and his tech team are transforming county government by providing services and access at any time, from anywhere, in the context meaningful to users.

Case in point: A local CEO told him that his company was accessing and leveraging county data, which was made available via the county IT department, to develop new products, and those new products were generating a few million dollars in new revenue.

Bill Briggs, Deloitte's U.S. and Global CTO and the inaugural leader of the firm's digital practice, says corporate leaders in many industries long viewed technology investments as a means to an end.

"The last few decades it was a focus on what do we have to do to eliminate waste, make things more predictable, make things more repeatable," he says. "It's not to say the investments made didn't have returns and value, they did. But in most companies, the idea of technology was a supporting function, it was behind the scenes."

Today, however, Briggs says leading CIOs and their C-suite colleagues understand that technology and business are completely intertwined and need to be treated as such.

"You can't separate business strategy from technology strategy," he says. "The technology is actually the center of what growth is built on. The technology implications are driving the future of the business itself."


Myth 4: Your IT shop is up to the task.

CIOs who want to transform their organizations need to have vision, but grand ideas won't go far if you don't have the needed IT infrastructure and the right skill sets to implement your strategy.

Larry Freed, CIO at Overhead Door in Louisville, Texas, says over his six-year tenure he has witnessed legacy systems and outdated approaches hindering the company in its abilities to improve the customer experience and deliver quality using the integrated technologies that are critical in this digital era.

"Technology is the enabler for us, and it's how do you leverage technology to improve what you're doing," he says.

Starting with planning and design in 2012, he says his IT team started to move from a number of old, disparate systems to a new Oracle E-Business Suite. The goal is for the business to have a single operating system for its complex environment, which includes manufacturing, distributing, installation and service. Freed explains that this move will streamline how the business operates and better measure performance (revenue, profitability and everything in between).


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