Emerging technologies, the consumerization of IT, and the ubiquity of cloud architecture have defined a new way of working in IT — shifting the focus of the CIO and the IT department toward integration, data, analysis, innovation, digitization, security, and privacy.  Leveraging these modern digital tools to spearhead faster, smarter and more effective customer engagement, will differentiate your company’s products and services, and outpace the competition.

Redefining digital transformation for companies has enabled an entirely new role for the CIO, and for the company’s IT department, one that opens the door toward new areas of expertise and leadership, with vast implications on the entire company’s success. The CIO is a crucial partner in helping strategize ways to utilize the business’ digital infrastructure to innovate and create value to accelerate revenue growth, and works very closely with software developers and other IT team members to drive the company forward.

Driving Mobility and Customer Engagement

The digital revolution is bringing a new and radically different platform for businesses, bringing digital services to people who didn’t have it before.  Big data, analytics and mobility enable organizations to create a highly personalized and quality user experience that’s available anywhere, anytime. As a result, organizations who adopt digital transformation will benefit from more meaningful and lucrative relationships with customers at a lower cost.

Since digital transformation fundamentally changes not only the scope of customer engagement but the entire value chain, it can no longer be a siloed activity. The only way for organizations to truly be successful in their digital transformation journey is with IT taking a leadership role, driving digital transformation projects through to fruition.  IT organizations shouldn’t just wait for digital transformation projects to come to them. Instead, IT should proactively seek out digital transformation, prioritizing projects that can drive the most significant impact across the business. This will only be successful when getting buy-in from across the organization, forming cross-departmental digital innovation teams, and creating innovative opportunities in the form of new products and services.

Digital transformation can be overwhelming in that the opportunities that exist in any business are so great that prioritization can seem impossible. Reimagining the customer relationship, understanding who they are, finding their preferences in their data and personalizing interactions for them, creates limitless possibilities. In my current company, we partner with mobile network operators to fundamentally change their relationship with their prepaid subscribers. Using predictive analytics, mobile network operators reach their prepaid consumers with the right product or service at the right time and place. As a result, they drive greater engagement, increasing recurring revenues. At the same time, a superior user experience stabilizes and reduces churn numbers that are soaring globally, increasing the lifespan of the customer base. Any IT organization would love to own a project that can boost results that include happier customers, higher revenues, all while reducing the cost of service delivery.  Digital transformation isn’t easy, but the results almost always speak for themselves.

Propelling Revenue Generation

Now is the time for organizations to shift their perspective of the IT department from a cost center to a business enabler and revenue facilitator. Every member of the IT organization should think of themselves as an innovator, not an implementer. Success here means redefining the role of IT, and of the CIO as being the champion of digital transformation.  IT organizations can and should break out of a focus on cost-cutting measures and toward differentiation through innovation.

Redefining IT has already begun.  IT organizations who don’t become the champions of digital transformation will be left behind. Look at today’s CIO, 84% of the world’s top IT leaders say their responsibilities are more business-focused than in the past, with growth the number one concern in 2018 (Gartner). For many organizations, digital transformation is the new competitive battleground — not only customer acquisition, but customer understanding, engagement, and retention which are best maximized with a data science mindset.  One that can test, learn and adjust in real time to the needs and opportunities of customers.

Making data actionable is a unique opportunity for the CIO to have an impact in every department — from marketing to production, to fulfillment and on through the supply chain.

In today’s global and connected world, every company is a technology company. Years ago, the CIO was the member of the executive hierarchy tasked with building the company’s IT systems from the ground up. Today, the CIO and the role of the IT department is broader, with a capable team knowing how to utilize technological innovations to drive value creation. The modern look of this team now takes a critical seat at the table, helping to develop business strategy and increase top-line revenue by building customer-facing solutions, creating global capabilities, developing new revenue-earning opportunities and fostering innovation (Forbes Insight).