As the majority of enterprises undergo digital transformation, it's easy to turn to buzzy technology solutions involving big data and machine learning to get you to your digital goals. However, digital transformation is the destination, and these technologies are just tools to help companies along the journey, according to Anthony Juliano, general partner and chief technology officer at Landmark Ventures.
SEE: Ebook—IT leader's guide to achieving digital transformation (Tech Pro Research)
At the 2017 Landmark CIO Summit in New York City on Thursday, Juliano explained the five key pillars of digital transformation that can set businesses up to become disruptors, and for new opportunities for the future.
CIOs can bring context to digital transformation strategies, Juliano said. "Talk about these pillars and strategies for transformation, rather than talking about technology," he added. "Let's talk about business, and see where this all leads."
1. Becoming a data driven enterprise
"It's not about big data or machine learning, but the concept of, 'How do we make real-time decisions across the organization, synthesizing every component possible to make the most informed decision for our business to set ourselves up for success?'" Juliano said. While those technologies play a role in automating processes and analyzing data, the real-time decision making is the fundamental capability your organization needs, he added.
2. Becoming an on-demand enterprise
This taps into the idea that business should be accessible everywhere, at all times. It should be possible for a CIO to open their laptop and work from a beach in Tahiti, or to check their email on their phone at the movie theater, Juliano said (though he does not recommend doing either, he added).
"You should be able to work anywhere at any time, and be able to scale up and down quickly and effectively so the organization is always at the right size," he said. Cloud and mobile technologies can enable this goal, but they are simply the means to an end, Juliano said.
3. Becoming a digital enterprise
The top five largest companies in the US are Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon—all tech companies, Juliano noted. This has implications for an insurance company that was founded 50 years ago and still issues reports on paper, and for a retail company that is trying to remain competitive via a brick and mortar shop. These companies need to consider how they can apply technologies that cater to their customers. "It's about better UI, better UX, and embracing technologies that can help us get from A to B," Juliano said.
4. Becoming a protected enterprise
Enterprise cybersecurity can no longer simply be preventative anymore, Juliano said. Instead, it needs to be detective, with a multi-layer, multi-facet protection lifecycle. "You also need to think in terms of the ROI of security—how do you measure it, and how do you implement something that means more than the sum of its parts? There's a different set of asymmetrical warfare changes that need to happen," Juliano said.
SEE: Research: The CIO as business catalyst - Role, relevance, and value (Tech Pro Research)
5. Becoming a connected enterprise
Organizations must embrace connected technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), wearables, and drones, Juliano said. In some cases, integration opportunities are obvious, such as installing sensors to improve manufacturing processes. Other times, it can be more difficult to determine how to leverage them, Juliano said. The CIO can help by looking for opportunities across the organization, and determine where they can drive value for customers.
For example, in a panel discussion on digital transformation that Juliano led at the summit, Manjit Singh, CIO of Clorox, explained how the company created its first IoT product, the Brita Infinity Pitcher. "The biggest problem consumers have is they never know when to change the filter," Singh said. This filter monitors the usage of water, and orders a new filter through Amazon when it is time to change it. "It's not about the technology—it's a benefit to the consumer, so the consumer doesn't have to think about it," Singh said.
- Why CIOs must step up to lead digital transformation efforts (TechRepublic)
- Five winning plays for digital transformation (ZDNet)
- How to make your IT department more valuable: 4 stages of success (TechRepublic)
- Eight obstacles to overcome in your digital transformation journey (ZDNet)
- Video: The 4 stages of IT maturity (TechRepublic)
Alison DeNisco Rayome has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.