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Digital transformation starts with the board, says research

14/03/2016 by Pascal CALOC


The trend of companies hiring 'digital leaders' in order to drive their digital transformation strategies is not necessarily conducive to achieving their goal of becoming more digital, reports ZDNet.

Russell Reynolds Associates (RRA) says that putting the onus on one or two people to execute a digital transformation will only make the process a laborious one.

Speaking to ZDNet, Rhys Grossman, co-lead of the digital transformation practice at RRA, says that organisations who want to see the benefits of digital transformation quickly need a digitally literate and capable board, as well as digital expertise embedded across divisions.

Grossman acknowledged that this will take some time to achieve and that one of the hardest things is finding the right people with digital expertise.

To give companies a better idea of what qualities to look for in people, RRA conducted psychometric assessments with 27 top digital executives, concluding: "We have never seen a cohort of top executives so different from other groups."

"Digital leaders are, unsurprisingly, more disruptive and innovative than other executives. But, equally important, they are more socially adept than other executives, as well as bolder and more determined in translating ideas into action," the research said.

The analysis presents a four-step road to digital transformation from 'not ready' to 'ready'. RRA warns against trying to make the transition too quickly and sets out clear goals for each step.

The goal at step one is to 'focus on steady-state management; at step two it's to 'employ incremental improvements of existing products and services'; at the end of step three firms should 'look for significant improvements in those existing products or services; then finally, at step four a company has 'achieved significant benefits and developed entirely new products and services.'


ZDNet, Digital, Digital Transformation

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