Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Part 3: HOW to DIGI-TRANSFORM the C-SUITE

(Third in a series of articles describing how to digitally transform your business. The first two articles described why the Board of Directors needs to be digital, and explained how it should become so.)


Digi-transform is not just about technology. It certainly is not old-fashioned IT. It is about being digitally competitive in order to renew and build the business, in a digitally competitive marketplace. The C-Suite must work together daily to drive change and digital competitiveness.

C-SUITE COLLABORATION is ESSENTIAL

It is not sufficient to have this effort led by the CIO or to appoint a Chief Digital Officer (CDO). Digi-Transform involves far more than just IT and data analytics. It is about changing the entire culture of the enterprise, backed up by technology. As digital competition intensifies, we will see a marked increase in the number of digi-savvy C-Suite teams. The required changes are simply too big for one person.

Without complete C-Suite collaboration, the odds against digi-transform success are staggering: 70% of projects tend to fail outright, and 20% fail so badly that the company's very existence is on the line. The degree of C-Suite collaboration, therefore, is the best predictor of future success or failure.


Traditional functional silos impede Digi-Transform. Digital expertise will overlay and override traditional C-Suite functions such as Marketing, IT, Operations, HR, and Finance. Competing silos are guaranteed to kill digi-transform innovation efforts. Silos also create discontinuous and disjointed experiences for the customer, severely limiting success. Silos will devolve or dissolve into a cross-functional C-Suite Digi-Transform Team. Collaboration is essential to success: the entire company must own, live, and drive digital, under the director of the Board and a digi-savvy CEO.

HAVING a DIGI-SAVVY CEO is ESSENTIAL

Digital CEO competency is particularly essential. You need people who think and behave differently. Digi-Transform leaders are new and different. They have a different persona (see table below), and are today's only qualified executives.

The digital executive's mandate is to create major and meaningful change, re-inventing and revitalizing the business. Disruptive by nature (in a positive and optimistic sense), they will boldly initiate and sustain innovative game-changing strategies, by inspiring others to achieve the digi-transform objective. They not only envision the new digital future but plan how to get there through determined, decisive, and motivated team action. 


The past and precedent is meaningless to them, unless it is a valuable aspect of root culture. They challenge traditional approaches and have no appetite or patience for antiquated ways of thinking and processes that are barriers to change. In fact, they are simply uncomfortable with status quo management and they quickly cut through bureaucracy and bottlenecks. By contrast, they are comfortable with ambiguity, uncertainty, and managed risk, quickly identifying and boldly (but safely) testing perceived limits.

Digi-savvy executives are creative, new-style thinkers, who often go against the conventional wisdom -- which usually is flawed -- to produce startling but non-obvious strategies. Steeped in innovation, they look constantly to the future and what it demands. They formulate an ambitious future objective that is feasible and inspiring, with a clear pathway to significant growth in revenues and market share. They lead from out front, and communicate with confidence and honesty, to convince and excite others of project viability.

Whether the Digi-CEO is from inside or recruited outside, they must quickly assimilate the situation and focus on what needs to change in various ways. They must seek out brutally-honest opinions from employees at all levels and in all units about what changes are desirable, and where any and all drawbacks are. If employees are inspired by the prospect of change and growth, they will be enthusiastic and contribute new ideas. Customers also must be consulted, as well as outside digi-transform experts.

Indeed (as strongly suggested in the previous article), no matter how savvy the CEO and C-Suite, you should bring in a full-time Digi-Transform Advisor.


Based on this knowledge gathering and injected expertise, the digi-savvy CEO can quickly diagnose problems and prescribe what needs to improve and change, on a time-sensitive basis, to rapidly re-invent and reposition the company in the marketplace.

DIGI-TRANSFORM LEADERSHIP and VISION

To accomplish this, the CEOs must take time to energize the company and build momentum for the digi-transform endeavor, starting on day one. The CEO must always speak with authenticity and a sense of urgency. The goal should be to achieve initial and medium-term success and then maintain it.

Digi-transform executives have a different pro-change, transforming mindset. Traditional change-resistant executives simply get left behind, while the transformative executive is driven to literally get to the future first.


The Digi-CEO mindset also can be summarized is the following organic flow chart.
Overall, the Digi-Transform leader is like a digital orchestra director who:
  • Sets high expectations about the absolute necessity to change and become the most digitally competitive enterprise in the industry, with a standing ovation performance every time. Winning cultures have high aspirations and a desire to be the best, with constant improvements.
  • Sets an ambitious and inspiring "moon shot" vision, along with a well-defined digital strategy for achieving objectives, including how the organization must collectively behave if success is to be achieved.
  • Constantly fine tunes and upgrades team skills, bringing in new resources as needed, and fine-tuning performance criteria and process arrangements to keep the enterprise humming in harmony. Winning teams are well synchronized, perform to a digital beat, and pursue excellence for a standing ovation.
  • Delivers the customer-driven objective, with assigned responsibility and accountability for achieving the end goal, which is an unmatched customer "wow" experience and satisfaction.
Digi-Transform leaders constantly and consistently communicate and celebrate successes at each milestone of the journey to complete victory at every performance. Winning cultures perform enthusiastically and exceptionally every step of the way until the climax is reached.

Team members with a positive attitude will embrace the "moon shot" vision with enthusiasm, and pursue it with passion and purpose. They will embrace the vision and its design principles because it resonates with their own values and aspirations.

People want the mission to succeed and they stay with the enterprise to see the mission accomplished. They have a sense that they are part of history in the making, and they realize that a successful mission will qualify them for further career progress, let alone the satisfaction of being on the winning team.


To summarize thus far ... Digi-Transform leaders thus set a "Moon Shot" vision and walk the talk, setting high expectations and inspiring a thirst for innovation and change. Digi-Leaders are out front, appraised of digital advances, and bring in outside knowledge and expertise as needed to help drive internal change projects, with a fine-tuned C-Suite team. 

LEADING-EDGE CHANGE AGENTS

Of course, there will be resistance to change. This usually starts at the top of the organization, where moribund managers fail to lead and refuse to change. But culture can be changed 180 degrees by a new tone and mindset at the top, coming from the Board (see previous articles in this series).

Digi-transform leaders don't take anything for granted, but they must be confident about the entire approach and be determined to succeed. They will confidently proceed, knowing that they can course-correct as needed and still achieve the scheduled goal of becoming completely transformed and digitally competitive.

You cannot change the culture by writing a memo to everyone. The desired cultural shift must be articulated from the top by a transformational leader. Visionary leaders transform culture with a concerted effort on several fronts. The challenge is to deprogram the existing brainwashed and change-resistant culture and build a culture that is motivated to constantly innovate and digitize.

Digital cultures embrace and create change. They re-invent themselves as needed, even before it is needed. Their leaders are change agents, such as Richard Branson of Virgin, who has reinvented companies and even entire industries. They develop and embrace digital strategies and plans that create brand new business models to meet fast-changing customer needs and expectations. They drive change, course correcting and streamlining as they go, managing risk and opportunity, through sustained non-stop innovation and transformation.

Digital cultures are based on digital skill sets which they constantly upgrade or up-skill. Change agents recruit, develop and retain leading-edge talents to drive a leading-edge strategy with leading-edge, real-time technology platforms, all managed with digital dashboards.

The organization must itself become a digital network, with key performance measures, all managed on a real-time digital dashboard. The C-Suite must carry a Digital Briefcase full of its detailed mandates, KPIs, and measured milestone goals.


FUTURE of DIGI-TRANSFORM

Digi-Transform will be the #1 strategic thrust for most CEOs and the center of corporate strategy of 70% of major companies by 2020. Digi-Transform will be driven by two key technologies:
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) will drive massive new digi-transform revenue streams across all sectors and product lines, many not yet even invented
  • Internet of Things (IoT) will be a growth engine that fundamentally alters yet again how consumers interact with business
Any business which fails to Digi-Transform will essentially miss out on these huge profit opportunities.


In conclusion, everything must be done through a digital set of lenses, taking full advantage of AI and IoT. As such, the entire personality and culture of the enterprise becomes digital, day in, day out, with decisions made on a second-by-second basis in real time. Only then will digi-transform succeed.

The next article in this series will explain how organizational culture needs to be transformed in order to allow digi-transform to occur.  

~~~ *** ~~~
Copyright (c) 2016, Frank Feather

All Comments Welcome


URL: http://digitransform.blogspot.com/2016/05/part-3-how-to-digi-transform-c-suite.html

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How to Digi-Transform the Board of Directors

As outlined at length in Part 1 of this series, if digital transformation is to succeed, it must start at the top, with the Board of Directors. This article explores how to achieve a digi-transform of the Board itself. The next article will address the C-Suite. A final article will discuss how to change the business culture such that digi-transform can be accomplished.


Traditional Board of Directors is Obsolete 
For sure it is serving as a drag and impediment to Digi-Transform. The following self-explanatory table illustrates the difference between a traditional and a digital Board of Directors in terms of roles and responsibilities.


Most of the traditional roles obviously continue to be important. However, a digi-Board must assume new approaches if the company is to be transformed. As shown, this means a digi-savvy Board must:

  • Become digitally savvy in all aspects
  • Create a dedicated Committee on Digital Transformation
  • Clarify the business model with a digital framework and process
  • Set a Digi-Transform Strategy to meet the opportunities that exist
  • Mandate what products and processes should be pursued, through what channels
  • Oversee the Digi-Transform process and identify future-proof digi-growth opportunities

BOARDS NEED a DIGI-TRANSFORM COMMITTEE

Above all, Boards must be digitally savvy and establish a solid Digi-Transform Committee. Working through that Committee, the Board will identify and approve future-relevant digital growth opportunities, and oversee their accomplishment. Such a Committee is absolutely essential to keep the company at the digital forefront. Without its guidance and oversight, it is almost certain that any digi-transform initiative will fail.


Yet only 4 of the 110 leading companies surveyed and mentioned in Part 1 of this series have a Technology/Digital Committee of the Board. Clearly, most Boards of Directors are significantly falling short and underperforming.  Digital change cannot be driven by the CIO alone. It is a joint Board and C-Suite task, across functional departments (as we shall discuss in Part 3 of this series).

Overall, the Board, the C-Suite, and the entire organization must learn to "Think Digital, Act Different" every day, as a normal way of behaving, if they are to succeed and become the digitally competitive leader of their industry. As well, the enterprise must be innovating daily to stay out front on the leading edge of digital change.




HOW to DIGITIZE a BOARD's EXPERTISE

Unless the Board is digi-transformed, neither will be the company.

To change the digital DNA of the Board and C-Suite, I suggest holding an intense strategy session at an offsite "Digi-Transform Day," to connect the Board and C-Suite with a common digi-transform mindset. Then follow that up with weekly digital coaching sessions of the Board and C-Suite for as long as necessary. This has proven most effective at companies where I have facilitated this process.


You must add an experienced Digi-Transform Advisor to the Board. Such a digital "pilot" will point the way to the most-suitable transformation agenda to suit the company. They will also advise both the Board and CEO on the best future opportunities, help to set the overall "moon-shot" vision/mission, monitor progress, keep an eye out for the future, and suggest course-corrections as the enterprise progresses towards a future-proof objective. 


One kind of Digi-Transform Advisor might be the CEO of a big company that is successfully transforming. But that person most likely has their hands full, guiding their own company, and there are so few of them anyway. Also, it can be no consolation to have a Board member who is a CEO from a traditional tech company, such as cable or telephones; that may be the wrong decision entirely because many of them are digital laggards, or at best still learning. As well, no academic has the hands-on practical experience you need.

You are far better to source an experienced Board Advisor or C-Suite Consultant who has already helped a few companies launch down the digi-transform path. But don't hire a big consulting firm; they will send you overly-priced juniors who simply lack top-level Board or C-Suite experience, and frankly they may be no more diggy-savvy than you are. You are much better advised to bring in an experienced individual who will quickly figure out what is required, from day one.

QUALIFICATIONS of DIGI-TRANSFORM ADVISOR


Through consulting and advising a variety of businesses, and my experience as an Interim CEO, I have found that personality and expertise are the key attributes of an effective Digi-Transform Boardroom and C-Suite Advisor:


It is by no means enough for this Digi-Transform Advisor or Board Member to simply attend periodic Board meetings. They need to work with the CEO on a daily basis, to dive deep into the company to get a complete sense of what is required to achieve digi-transform, and then to help lead the initiative.

Such a person should be appointed as the Chief Digi-Transform Officer (CDTO), sitting alongside the CEO and Board Chair, and working daily with the C-Suite to drive the transformation forward. That would get everyone on the same digital page, pursuing the same mandate. This focal-point "go-to" individual also should head up the suggested Digi-Transform Committee of the Board, to guide and oversee the entire effort.

DIGI-TRANSFORM PROCESS FRAMEWORK

The Digi-Transform Committee should follow a thorough framework to achieve its objectives. Throughout the digi-transform process, the Board must constantly build and develop a leading-edge C-Suite team and a company-wide culture that sustains ever-improving performance and customer satisfaction. You must think and act like a start-up, with a futuristic approach if you are to re-invent the business. 

The framework to follow is multi-dimensional. In a general sense, you need to move rapidly to:
  • Design a brand new start-up business model or reconfigure how to reinvent the existing model
  • Sustain and refresh the new digi-culture through talent recruiting and performance rewards
  • Set an ambitious digi-transform vision/mission over three sequential time horizons:
o   Budget for and launch short-term agile initiatives to create momentum and fuel new growth
o   Drive medium-term innovative gains to strengthen your digi-competitive edge

o   Drive sustained innovation, with a portfolio of digi-transform initiatives to capture market share


Ongoing Digi-Governance should follow a 3-part framework, as follows and explained below:



1. TRANSFORMATIVE VISION & STRATEGY

The Board and CEO need to frame a common vision of what the transformed enterprise will look like, based on how the future will be different and better than today, and why the change is imperative. Otherwise, employees will tend to do what they have always done, and nothing will change. Then the Board needs to build a strategy that will accomplish the mission.

In terms of the vision/mission, you need to adopt a digi-mindset and build a culture of sustained, non-stop digi-innovation that exceeds customer expectations with a "digi-wow" experience. Think and deliver like Amazon. Anything less is not sufficient.

To be future proof, your strategy must be digitally leading-edge, based on future trends expected to manifest over various time horizons: next quarter, next year, next 3 years, next 5 years, next 20 years.

In particular, Boards need to:
  • Assess, monitor, understand, and anticipate the fast-changing market
  • Think ahead of tech changes and other trends
  • Ask what it all implies and what you need to do about it, by when
  • Proactively map out, plan for, incorporate and manage strategic digital opportunities (and risks)
  • Establish strict digi-governance guidelines overseen by the Digi-Transform Committee


2. BUILD C-SUITE and COMPANY-WIDE DIGITAL INTENSITY and COMPETENCY

The Board, Committee, and CEO must understand the threats and opportunities that digital represents, and honestly and continuously assess the firm’s digital maturity, or lack of it. To make the vision a reality, the Board must ensure that the company invests in the right areas. This will require cutting back or eliminating unproductive activity, while ramping up digital and human resource investment where the company can best excel in the future.
  • Ensure digital expertise at all levels, not just in IT or marketing, and develop it among rising leaders
  • In essence, the C-Suite must be a defacto Digi Executive Committee to ensure coordination, collaboration, and engagement at all levels of operation and functions of management (no more silos)
  • Constantly assess, upgrade and reward digital competence and expertise at all levels
  • Identify, recruit, and mentor digital talent across the organization
  • Ensure all employees are intently and digitally engaged

3. DEVELOP and SUSTAIN a DIGI-TRANSFORM CULTURE

This approach will almost-instantly create a digi-culture that operates like a brand-new start-up that re-invents its industry. You cannot remain encumbered by outmoded industrial-era processes and a moribund culture. You must be extremely agile and fast-moving, developing prototype products, new processes, pilot projects, and fast roll-outs. You must be willing to experiment, with a high tolerance for risk. The digital marketplace will instantly tell you whether to expand, modify, or kill each experiment. As you build a portfolio of innovations, the risk will diminish rapidly. To achieve this:
  • Rapidly devolve a digi-culture that anticipates and creates change, and sustains innovation 24/7
  • Motivate an agile digi-transform forward view, in place of outmoded quarterly reports
  • Measure, assess, reward and celebrate digi-transform initiatives and successes
  • Constantly laud and celebrate the new digi-culture to entrench its validity.
The next article in this series will explain how the CEO and C-Suite needs to operate, including the type of CEO required. A final article will explain in more detail how to transform the overall organizational culture, as follows:




~~~ *** ~~~
Copyright 2016, Frank Feather

Permalink:
http://digitransform.blogspot.com/2016/05/how-to-digi-transform-board-of-directors.html




Wednesday, May 11, 2016

DIGITIZE or DIE: How to Successfully Future-Proof and Digi-Transform Your Company (multi-part article)



PART 1: Why You Need a
Digi-Savvy Board of Directors
(First in a series of articles on digitally transforming your company,
starting with the Board of Directors)

There are no short cuts to the future in the digital age. You need to establish a sustained innovative culture, starting at the top of the enterprise, in the Boardroom. 

Superior corporate performance flows from the "tone at the top," set by the Board, that then freely cascades through the enterprise and out to the customer. Logically then, digital transformation (Digi-Transform) needs to be the #1 "top-of-mind" issue in the Boardroom.


Today's high-performance companies fixate on Digi-Transform strategy. They have seen the future and are enthusiastic and decisive about what needs to happen, by whom, by when, and why. These forward-thinking dynamic and decisive executives confidently figure out how to digitize the Boardroom, the C-Suite, and the company at large. They know how to plan for and embark on a genuine Digi-Transform journey.

Just a few such leading-edge Boards and CEOs are blazing a trail, following a customized digital roadmap, with distinct milestones and short deadlines. They are in a hurry, while keeping an alert eye on existing and upstart competitors. But they never look back. Their eyes are fixed on a moon-shot goal to reinvent their company.

Digital Directors ask tough digital questions. Bringing in-depth experience to their role, they typically have served as change agents if not full “digital transformers” responsible for driving large-scale change (such as turnarounds). They bring both a fresh perspective and digital competence. These intent change agents pose challenging questions such as: 
  • How can we best meet fast-changing customer expectations?
  • Do we have the speed, technology, and digital skill set to transform?
  • Do we need to bring in outside expertise to Digi-Transform properly and successfully?
To ask and assess these questions, the Board itself must be digi-savvy. And if a CEO cannot respond adequately, they must be replaced, as must any Board Director or C-Suite member who is not digi-competent. Unless such questions are answered quickly, confidently, and with brutal honesty, then the company is destined to go the way of book shops and video stores.

Digi-Transform: What is It Anyway?

It is important to understand what Digi-Transform is ... and what it isn't.

  • Digi-Transform is Customer Driven. It is about meeting new and fast-changing digi-savvy customer expectations and giving them a "wow" experience. To begin, you must analyze and evaluate how the customer journey is changing, and the degree to which customer satisfaction is declining -- as it surely will be (along with market share) if you are not keeping up with the digital customer. In turn, that will give you ample evidence of your need to Digi-Transform. Conversely, as Digi-Transform proceeds, you will see rising customer satisfaction, new customer acquisition, climbing lifetime customer value, rising sales, and vastly improved performance indicators, including market share and profit (see later).
  • Digi-Transform is not only IT Driven. Upgrading legacy systems, as we know, greatly enhances processes with added value by reinventing them, while scrapping others. But if the digital customer is left wanting, then that alone is not a long-run solution. You absolutely cannot leave this to IT alone.
  • Digi-Transform is not just for Tech Companies. Without question, exceptional opportunities exist in all industry sectors, B2B and B2C, and in fact for any organization that is in any way serving the public.
  • Digi-Transform has a Common Cultural DNA. Every company, regardless of sector or size, must transform. There are no ifs, ands, or buts; you cannot wait and see. That means you must change your organizational culture so that everyone lives and breathes digi-transform, 24/7. They come to work each day to enhance the digital customer's experience.
  • Digi-Transform is Time Sensitive. There is an urgency to launch Digi-Transform and it requires a specific strategy, goal, and time-lined roadmap, with executive mandates that achieve all objectives on time.
Digi-Leaders and Laggards

Digi-savvy Directors are a rare breed. Even today's leading-edge highly-digital companies have only one or two "digital directors" while laggard companies have none. Indeed, the vast majority of Boards remain “Non-Digital.” They are asleep at the helm. No more than 10% of Boards can be classified as “Highly Digital,” with another 10% being somewhat digitally aware. But 80% of companies lack even basic digital representation on their Boards.

Digital must be seriously and consistently thought about, and studied. Where this is not the case, but digi-transform is simply read about perfunctorily in articles, Board members and executives are nervously looking over their shoulders at upstarts and shrugging, either dismissing the threat, or feeling helpless about what they should do. Such companies are doomed to be digitized out of business.

In some 90% of companies, digi-transform efforts are far too slow or conservative, even non-existent, preventing the company from innovating effectively and causing them to fall behind in the market, as follows: 
  • Laggards: 20% of companies are complete laggards, oblivious to the digital revolution, and seriously falling behind in their market. Unless they wake up and re-invent themselves fast, they will simply wither and die.
  • Conservatives: 35% are die-hard conservatives that are risk averse and put extreme prudence ahead of innovation. They are somewhat aware of the digital revolution, but if they do not move soon, they too risk being disrupted right out of business.
  • Slow Learners: 35% are slow learners, doing a few digital applications. But most of them tiptoe around the edges, putting on a show but achieving barely anything of consequence. They also are too slow and thus will miss valuable opportunities, unless they speed up very soon.
  • Leading-Edge: 10% (at most) are leading-edge digi-transformers. The true pioneers in this group are vastly out-performing their industry competitors (see later). As mentioned, a few even have some digi-savvy members on their Board of Directors. And they are delivering exceptional performance results.
Most Boards are Simply Not Ready for Digital

Why is the pace of digital change in most companies so dismally slow? In surveys, only 38% of CEOs even have digi-transform on their priority list. Only 40% of CIOs are digitally engaged. Engagement is far worse for CMOs (31%) and CFOs (17%), and sits at a lowly 14% for Boards of Directors (see table below). 
Digi-Transform efforts are being held back by the Board, and even by the CFO despite the fact that a shift to digital business correlates with higher revenues and profitability. Boards significantly lag the C-Suite in prioritizing what is their company's single largest opportunity.

This is mainly because Directors lack digital expertise. One study found that at least 80% of Board members are not at all digitally savvy. According to Forrester Research, this is due to two false assumptions by Boards: that Digital is IT's problem; and that these Boards falsely and arrogantly believe that they do have command of the issue.

The digital presence on Boards is only in its infancy and seriously lags what is essential, based on a study of the 110 largest public companies in USA and Europe by Amrop. Even the Boards of tech companies have only 36% of Directors who are digi-competent. On non-tech Boards, the representation is a paltry 5%. By contrast, traditional financial acumen is 3 times more prevalent than digital competency, regardless of industry. As an ex-banker and a public company Director with Audit Committee experience, plus Interim-CEO experience, I suggest that financial acumen and digital competency are of equal importance today.

Boards typically are change averse, due to an over focus on risk rather than opportunity. Digitization does demand a risk-tolerant culture. Yet, to be frank, the Board role of focusing on risk is itself too risky in these revolutionary times. Fear of failure and strict governance practices in fact suffocate the essential innovation which must occur.

By contrast, Digital Boards are committed to change and Digi-Transform. Even if they have some digi-savvy Directors, they look outside to bring in digital competence and expertise for help and perspective. That enables them to develop the necessary digital competence to bypass shortcomings (and excuses) to achieve Digi-Transform on schedule, and with superior performance results. (This will be explained in detail in a subsequent article.)

Making the Case for Digi-Transform:
Outstanding Performance Advantage

Forget trying to make a detailed case analysis to justify the investment in Digi-Transform. Being customer-driven, the benefits of Digi-Transform are beyond question. Companies that embrace Digi-Transform are outperforming their peers across the board (as amply demonstrated by a recent 200-company study by Capgemini and MIT; see table below).

The exceptional performance of digi-savvy companies is striking. They are way ahead on revenue generation, profitability, and market cap. On average, they:
  • Achieve 26% more profit
  • Generate 9% more revenue
  • Enjoy 12% higher market valuations


These numbers are astonishing; the data speaks for itself and is beyond argument. Other studies show even more spectacular results. For example, companies that focus on customer experience generate 60% higher profits (Gartner study) and boost company value by 30% (Bain study). What is left to be discussed?

In the face of this standout performance excellence, it is impossible to justify not proceeding to Digi-Transform. And don't say your company is different, or that it is not a tech company, or that it cannot possibly match these results. Dismal past performance is not an indicator of what is possible after Digi-Transform. Frankly, not to proceed is to sign the company's bankruptcy filing. This is not an over-statement.

Every industry faces an array of new digital challenges but also major opportunities. Yet most companies are burdened with weak Board oversight, unqualified management, inflexible tech, and outmoded cultural legacies that leave them transfixed, unable to adapt and transform. Unless they mature digitally, such companies simply will not be digitally competitive. They will not survive.

Performance Differentiators

So what accounts for the above-described performance differences? Simply put, the outstanding companies are more digitally savvy and intense; they are more digitally mature.

Digital maturity depends on three main aspects (as listed at the foot of above performance table), as follows: 

  • Winners Have Digi-Savvy Directors, who either are existing members who have serious Digi-Transform expertise, or are new digi-savvy Directors brought in from outside. In either case they often are supplemented by guidance from external Digi-Transform Advisors to the Board, and/or C-Suite (this important aspect will be discussed in detail in the next article in the series).
  • Winners Have Digi-Transform Tech Intensity, where tech-enabled initiatives change how the company thinks and operates - its business model, processes, and customer engagement. Some companies are investing, but it is ad hoc and they are uncoordinated in their digital initiatives, so they are floundering, unfocussed, and failing. Digital intensity also boosts growth by weeding out unproductive activities and moving into better opportunities.
  • Winners Have Digi-Transform C-Suite Intensity, where digi-savvy CEO and C-Suite leaders know how to drive change across the company, based on a Digi-StratEDGY vision to capture the future, plus a digi-savvy Board to oversee the effort. Digi-StratEDGY is my term to describe "leading-edge" (or EDGY) digital strategy. It is leading-edge because it is truly futuristic, and hence future proof. (The C-Suite will be covered in a separate article in this series.)

Summary: Time to Re-Invent Your Board

It is way past time to completely Digi-Transform your company, regardless of your industry or business type. And this shake-up must start at the top, in the Boardroom.
  • If you are serious about being successful in the new era, your Board of Directors needs to become Digitally Competent without delay.
  • You most likely will need to bring in outside expertise in the form of a Digi-Transform Advisor to accomplish everything required.

How best to do all this will be explained in the next several articles. 

~~ **** ~~

Copyright 2016, Frank Feather