Is The C-Suite Ready For Digital Leadership?
At a time, when digital technologies such as mobile, cloud, social and big data are shaking up the enterprise, the role of C-suites is assuming greater importance. In the customer-centric era, experts believe, today, it is not only the IT department that is accountable for adoption and consumption of technology, but it is the entire C-suite that should spell the success of an organization with regard to making critical decisions on technology strategy and implementation. However, in reality, it is observed that senior management at most firms lacks the ability to make critical decisions on technology strategy and implementation.
A new research study from CSC’s Leading Edge Forum (LEF) finds that, at a time when, “leadership and digital leadership are becoming synonymous, the C-suite is the biggest barriers to realizing their firms’ full digital potential.
The study identifies that 32 percent of C-level executives report lack of intra-company cooperation across organizational silos, 28 percent say employee and customer resist to new ways of working, while 24 percent say lack of agility and responsiveness. On fifth strongly content that lack of executive engagement or leadership in new technology initiatives are the biggest barriers in technology adoption.
“Global business leaders see the game-changing potential of emerging technologies, but many are unsure their firms possess the digital leadership necessary for these increasingly disruptive times,” said David C Moschella, research director, CSC LEF.
In a recent report, Gartner too blames it on the lack of clarity and maturity of C-suites on understanding digital leadership. “Many organizations haven’t grown up yet, and are stuck in a siloed legacy setup. They’re used to looking outward at customers through different channels,” says Jake Sorofman, a Gartner analyst.
In such a scenario, Sofoman believes disruptive technologies are having the most direct effect on the CMO, CIO and others in the C-suite. In a recent survey by Constellation Research, 44 percent of participants said the number one priority for the CIO should be innovation.
In reality, however, the CIO’s role is limited by constant pressure to reduce costs and stretch budgets, says Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research. Until CIOs can reduce their IT investment and communicate it effectively to the board, there will be little time for him to focus on innovation.
While he predicts that the role of chief digital officer or CDO is emerging to fill this gap, unless the entire CXO community gears up to assume digital leadership, companies will continue to face challenges in terms of new technology adoption.
The CSC LEF report recommends that enterprises must create a digital leadership plan based that takes into account senior executives who believe that IT matters, and accept that they need to take responsibility for their firm’s major digital initiatives. It should also include partners, customers and employees, and rewards employees who embrace the use of IT to better do their jobs.
The study believes the C-suite must cooperate to take up data-driven decisions, build communities such as ecosystem collaboration, social media, open innovation, crowd-sourcing and customer engagement, and practice an open culture, the digital leadership gap will continue to remain.
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