Paul Lewis, Chief Technology Officer at Hitachi Vantara, offered tips to help IT professionals drive digital transformation across their respective businesses during his presentation to Argyle’s CIO membership at the 2018 CIO Leadership Forum: Data Strategy & Innovation in Boston on May 2. In his presentation, “Leading the Business Through Digital Transformation – It’s Data-Centric,” Lewis provided insights into digital transformation, its importance for today’s businesses and how to develop and deploy an effective digital transformation program.
Digital transformation is a top priority for many companies around the globe. Meanwhile, IT professionals play key roles in determining how quickly a company can reap the benefits of digital transformation.
The push for digital transformation has helped accelerate the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), a global network that empowers software and devices to consistently share information with one another. Although many IT professionals strive to adopt IoT technologies, doing so may prove to be difficult.
In some instances, IT professionals struggle to identify the right IoT technologies based on a company’s needs. And if IT professionals cannot implement IoT technologies properly, they risk wasting time and resources on technologies that may deliver minimal return on investment (ROI).
“The Internet of Things drives the vast majority of growth and innovation,” Lewis said. “It is a complex set of tools and technologies … and you can’t possibly understand all that is in there.”
Automation is becoming increasingly important, particularly for companies that want to speed up their digital transformation efforts. As IT professionals explore IoT technologies, they may want to consider technologies that promote automation. That way, automation may enable a company to streamline repetitive tasks – something that could help this business boost its productivity and efficiency and reduce its operating costs.
“Robotics are taking the repetitive tasks of people. Now, people in production plants exist for the purpose of maintaining robotics,” Lewis indicated.
With automation, IT professionals can transform customer experiences too.
Businesses now can provide self-service technologies that make it simple for customers to receive immediate support. As a result, companies can use self-service technologies to provide exceptional customer support, faster and more effectively than ever before.
“With natural language processing, the number of calls to a call center a business receives may go from two a year to 50 a year, but the vast majority [of these calls] is being handled by an automated system,” Lewis pointed out. “There’s not a call center anymore. Instead, there’s a contact center.”
Digital transformation may help a company – regardless of industry – connect with customers via mobile devices, social media and other platforms. If a company focuses on finding innovative ways to partner with customers, it may be able to use IoT technologies to transform customer experiences into citizen experiences. This business also may be better equipped than others to use citizen experiences to differentiate itself from the competition.
“Most people think of digital transformation as delivering new customer experiences,” Lewis noted. “But digital transformation is really about delivering new citizen experiences … that change the way customers interact with [a brand].”
How a CIO approaches digital transformation may have long-lasting ramifications on a business, its employees and its customers.
CIOs frequently take a revenue-centric approach to business operations. As such, these professionals may track assorted revenue-based metrics and explore ways to help a company use myriad technologies to drive revenue growth.
“The CIO has moved from the delivery of IT to the delivery of business,” Lewis stated. “The delivery of business involves focusing on things that drive changes in revenue.”
“The CIO has moved from the delivery of IT to the delivery of business. The delivery of business involves focusing on things that drive changes in revenue.”
A revenue-centric approach often allows a CIO to track a company’s progress over time. Yet this approach alone sometimes fails to help a CIO ensure a business can achieve its immediate and long-term goals.
Ultimately, CIOs must prioritize data as they explore ways to drive digital transformation. By collecting and analyzing data regularly, CIOs can find the best ways to upgrade a company’s applications and infrastructure.
“IT is very business-centric,” Lewis indicated. “IT focuses on creating new functions for applications … but the centricity of IT needs to move from applications and infrastructure to data.”
IoT technologies help CIOs capture data from a broad range of sources. These technologies enable CIOs to mine data and gain actionable insights from it as well. Best of all, IoT technologies can be implemented across all business departments. And with these technologies in place, CIOs can monitor data trends and patterns and generate the insights they need to accelerate digital transformation.
“Data is valuable from the point that I create it to the point that I delete it,” Lewis noted. “Seeing data change over time is more valuable than seeing data in its original static state.”