In recent times I have been party to a number of conversations which have shared (possibly apocryphal) tales about ‘digital’. While I am sure some of them were exaggerated, it left a clear impression that there is more work to be done by contemporary IT leaders to support their leadership colleagues and their businesses successfully land in the digital age.
Digital has been accepted by the savvy for what it is; a whole business, whole board consideration. For the less informed it’s a mythical separate state to be tended by someone else. The two quotes that stuck out the most are as follows:
“…when you say digital, do you mean technology?”
“…we hired a CDO and then a team which was great. But now they are into it they want us all to change!”
In replaying these to people the number of knowing smiles and wistful nods suggests that IT and the CIO are both catching the fall out of digital fatigue (change fatigue of old!). And in some cases they are being expected to simply land the business ‘in’ digital.
Commercially minded IT leaders have every opportunity to be to be a more substantive force for change, improvement and ‘whole business’ digital adoption. The days of simply being the tame disrupter, or the caged operator are gone. Leadership, influence, impact and whole business thinking are the currency contemporary IT leaders must deal in. But they have to integrate with the leadership team and ensure they have them arm in arm if the organisation is to truly exploit the opportunities that digital can offer.
Matt Cockbill is Managing Partner of the IT & Technology Leadership Practice of Berwick Partners.
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