From A to B: A CIO’s Guide to Navigating Transformation in the Digital Age

Posted 06/20/2018 by Paul Dier

In the era of business transformation, CIOs have the unenviable job of closing the gap between transformation and readiness to get their company on the path to a digital future. As my colleague, Nigel Williams, wrote in one of his blog posts, “The challenges facing CIOs today can’t be denied. At face value, the same could be said to be true for just about any role. But one CIO said his job was to take the company from point A to B faster.”

    How close that gap is to being closed depends on whom you ask within an organization. A global study from Commvault and Quadrant Strategies found there’s a significant gap between CEO expectations for digital transformation and IT organization readiness. Of the 1,200 IT executives and personnel surveyed in

six global business markets, many believe they lack the skill set, technology and bandwidth to create a data-centric foundation for innovation.

But before these issues can be addressed, businesses need to understand the difference between IT, business and digital transformation. According to Rackspace, business transformation encompasses the cultural shift and business processes driven by changing market demands (i.e. the company’s culture of change and business drivers); digital transformation encompasses the tools and processes implemented to support business transformation (i.e. applications); and IT transformation is the reassessment and overhaul of information technology to support digital transformation (i.e. infrastructure).

While a lot of the talk around transformation tends to focus on technology, what’s often overlooked is the business element. All three of the transformation types go hand in hand and no strategy will be truly successful if this isn’t the case. If a CIO could just throw technology at transformation, then it wouldn’t be such a challenge to close that gap.

This transformational change within organizations is being reflected externally in the IT market as a whole, which is moving away from an infrastructure-centric to a strategic data-centric approach. This is driven by the shift to multi-cloud environments, better prevention and recovery from cyberattacks, compliance with new data privacy regulations such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the use of analytics to enhance business insights. GDPR, which went into effect late May, is a data privacy regulation that will impose hefty fines on businesses in the EU and those who do business there, even if they reside elsewhere, should they be found to be non-compliant.

This strategic approach calls for collaboration across business units to come to a consensus around the following questions, as a Campaign article on digital transformation versus business transformation asks:

  • What is driving our need to change?
  • What are we hoping to achieve by changing?
  • How will this approach "transform" the way we conduct business (i.e. the sales process)?
  • Does it fundamentally change our brand story?
  • What are the risks of not changing?

Being able to answer these questions is no longer a “nice to have"; it’s a “must have” in order to survive. Businesses need to think and act like a technology company or else they will go out of business. Look at how technology companies have disrupted traditional industries, such as Uber and the transportation industry, Airbnb and the hospitality industry, Netflix and the television/cable industry - the list goes on.

By thinking like a startup, businesses should be taking a look at the industries they operate in and ask themselves the following questions so they can retain their market share, according to an online article in Digitalist Magazine.

  • How would they build their business given their industry and customer knowledge with the advances in people, processes and tools?
  • What do their customers perceive as value?
  • What structure and systems would deliver maximum value with minimum waste?
  • What are the barriers to adoption for their product(s) and or service(s) and how would their design help customers overcome them.

But CIOs don’t have to go it alone. That’s why it helps to have a strategic partner in place. At Commvault, we offer business transformation services for this precise reason. We can help your business get the greatest strategic advantage from your data management environment. Because without knowing your data, being able to manage it and analyze it, you’ll never realize the distance between the gap from A to B.