CEO Priority for 2017: Embracing the Digital Mindset
With digital technologies disrupting every industry — from retail to farming — the question is not if a company should embrace a digital mindset but when. Yet despite the massive shift, most digital initiatives among enterprises still do not have an organization-wide strategy and execution plan in place, according to a Forbes survey.
This lack of planning and engagement from the C-suite has consequences. The Forbes survey found 77 percent of organizations still struggle with digital transformation at some level. Additionally, failing to prioritize digital efforts leaves the door open for innovative organizations that are ready to embrace the transformation to surge ahead in developing top-of-the-line services and products that contribute value and generate strong customer engagement.
As CEOs contemplate their priorities for 2017, becoming more engaged in digital initiatives and trends should be at the top of the list. Here’s a look at what’s required by CEOs to help their organizations make the transition to digital.
Make the Digital Mindset Pervasive
Digital initiatives will only be successful when they initiate from the bottom up and the top down — there needs to be a pervasive understanding across the organization that digital matters. A CEO can do much to spread the digital mindset to other executives and top-level managers. The key will be not just setting digital as a strategic priority but also innovating new ways to work effectively that embrace the digital mindset.
One of the benefits of digital is the ability to quickly gain insights and act upon them. But this will require most organizations to pivot to more agile, innovative ways of approaching digital initiatives. Rather than fearing failure, the focus should be on failing fast in order to evolve rapidly to further engage customers. This mindset also allows organizations to innovate while limiting risk and capital investments.
Put the Customer Experience First
A big part of the digital revolution has been shifting to a more customer-centric focus, in which the customer’s experience matters most. Therefore, CEOs and the organizations they lead need to establish new viewpoints that allow them to see every initiative through the customer’s lens, focusing on what will engage and delight users. Companies must understand on what channels they can most effectively reach their audience and use different types of digital media to affect engagement metrics.
The best way to succeed in this endeavor will be to create pilots and prototypes that can be tested with customers, iterated on and brought to market quickly. As part of the design and development process, CEOs should encourage beta-testing innovations and help create internal and external support that allows lines of business to scale with speed when results are positive.
Embrace New Technologies and New Expertise
There will be a need to embrace new technologies that can launch these digital initiatives. Big data, cloud computing, mobile and social media — as well as artificial intelligence, machine learning and augmented reality — can all be harnessed to better engage customers and drive growth in new channels and markets.
Alongside the push for innovative technology comes the need to build digital expertise within the organization, so the business can use these technologies to automate processes and incorporate new tools into existing systems. Onboarding data scientists and investing in in-depth training for key resources can make a big impact on the return on investment for digital technologies.
CEOs who value innovation and maintaining a competitive edge can embrace a digital mindset that encourages transformation across the organization. They’ll need not only to push others to embrace digital initiatives but also to work with IT and stakeholders to ensure the organization’s infrastructure is adequate to support their digital reinvention.