It’s safe to say that the digital space has taken over all our lives and unsurprisingly, businesses have followed suit. It is now considered imperative for organizations to evolve and change with the arrival of new technologies. The former Executive Chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems, John T Chambers said, “At least 40% of all businesses will die in the next 10 years if they don’t figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies.” Therefore, leaders must stay up-to-speed and embrace digital transformation in their leadership, to stay relevant. And in order to enable this, leaders need to embrace a digital-first mindset.
Cognizant of this growing need, Emeritus conducted a webinar titled Make the Leap to Becoming a Digital-First Leader. The webinar was moderated by Dodge McIntosh (Course Facilitator, Emeritus) with keynote speakers Saurabh Saraf, Vice President and Director, Digital Product – Liberty Mutual Insurance, and Naman Ahluwalia, Chief Technology Officer, All Good Things. They engaged participants from different parts of the world with their informative and intriguing discussion that touched upon all things digital transformation and leadership. Here’s what you missed:
Digital Transformation and Leadership Go Hand-in-hand
Before delving into the nitty-gritty of being a digital-first leader, it is essential to understand what exactly digital transformation is.
Digital transformation could mean a lot of things. It could consist of anything from digital optimization and IT modernization, to developing new business models to help improve revenue and reduce costs within the organization. For instance, when an organization introduces a technology like Slack to employees, it can help increase productivity and communication among them. This is an instance of what digital transformation essentially does; it enhances employee productivity and business efficiency.
Digital transformation provides leaders with an abundance of data, adding data value as well as operational value. It positively impacts the business in many ways, thus confirming that getting the right balance between digital transformation and leadership is even more crucial.
Another crucial area in which digital transformation has made considerable headway is customer experiences, arising out of a customer-centric mindset. According to a Harvard Business Study, 78% of executives believe that customers’ digital adoption has accelerated and will never return to previous levels. In addition, 69% believe that competition for customer loyalty has never been higher.
One of the many things touched upon during the webinar was how the ongoing pandemic has led to a change in customers’ mindsets, further accelerating digital dependency. With COVID-19, the forced adoption of technology has encouraged customers to see things differently.
Digital transformation brings in cost and time efficiencies and elevates experiences. Moreover, it allows companies to find more win-win solutions.
Becoming a Leader in the Digital Era
The true value of transformation can’t be unlocked within the organization if its leaders don’t possess a digital-first mindset. One of our keynote speakers echoed that it is important to be digital and do digital. This simply translates into the fact that before a leader chooses to leap into digital transformation, they must alter their mindset and become a digital-first leader. When executives strike a chord between digital transformation and leadership, the evolution of the organization begins to take shape.
When leaders have a digital-first mindset, it comes with numerous benefits –
1. Helps employees working on the digital aspects of the business
2. Opens doors to innovation
3. Increases speed and agility
4. Awareness of what is happening and thus helps the business remain relevant and with the competition
5. Aids in understanding the customers and growing the business
Must-Dos and All the Required Skills that Leaders Must Possess
Before stepping into the digital space, executives must comprehend the impact of digital transformation and leadership. They should avoid doing a lift and shift, which simply means moving your data to a cloud-based service with little to no alterations. Instead, leaders should look into various options and then choose what they think would work best for the organization. Digital transformation presents leaders with a significant amount of data. Therefore investing in data systems is crucial, according to our keynote speakers.
When an organization is undergoing a digital transformation, there is a risk of things taking the wrong turn. On the one hand, digital transformation can cost the organization, while on the other hand, it can gain value. One of our keynote speakers added that leaders should not shy away from admitting that it is important to fail and learn from your failures.
A checklist of skills for leaders to adopt to engage in a harmonious relationship between digital transformation and leadership:
- Push internal and external users and customers to adopt digital transformation by explaining to them the value that it provides and the reasons for adopting this transformation
- Welcome talent that can take the business forward
- Automate basic and manual tasks, to focus on strategic tasks
- Collect data, put it together, and make informed decisions
- Be open to constant feedback and change
- Align the business with the needs and wants of the customer
Watch the webinar conducted by Emeritus that explores the same in-depth.
Also, if you would like to explore courses on digital transformation and leadership, click here to browse our portfolio.