Technology is no longer the cost centre but the business enabler and will enable different and innovative business models that the world is going to witness in the coming decades
When asked how he planned his career path to be a successful technology leader, Mayur Tanna, Group CIO at TransformHub, in an exclusive interview with CIO News, said, “For any successful technology leader, it’s important for the person to be technology hands-on and have a good solid foundation with technology.” It was no different for me either, as I started my career as a software engineer with a passion to understand the technology which would enable me to write highly performance-efficient, cost-effective, and highly secure code. I went through organic growth and grew up the ladder where I played various roles of Tech Lead, Tech Architect, Engineering Manager, Technology Head, etc., working with some big multinationals serving various clients across different geographies. The experience I gained while working with clients across geographies gave me a different perspective and helped me broaden my skills needed as a leader.
A technology leader needs to exhibit both tactical and strategic approaches in order to achieve KPI’s that align with business goals and outcomes.
When asked about challenges he faced in his career path and how he overcame them, he said, “As a technology person, when you start your career, you are always excited to learn new technologies and implement them without really understanding the business benefits of implementing that technology.” While working with different clients and challenging assignments, I realised that it’s important to understand the customer’s needs and pain-points in order to arrive at an optimum solution. For a technology leader, it’s always important to look at a bigger picture, be customer-centric, be aware of tech trends and evaluate the pros and cons of multiple options from an end-to-end perspective before finalising the best possible solution.
When asked about challenges faced by technology leaders today while implementing digital technologies, he said, following are some of the challenges faced by technology leaders while implementing digital technologies:
- Lack of a change management strategy
- Lack of a digital transformation strategy
- Lack of proper IT skills
- Adoption of New Tools and Processes Driven by Complex Software and Technology
- Continuous Evolution of Customer Needs
- Security Concerns
- Budget Constraints
- Culture Mindset
When asked how technology leaders can overcome the challenges they face, he said,
Lack of a change management strategy
Organizations with a thorough change management strategy are 6 times more likely to meet or exceed digital transformation objectives. Having a strong change management culture is vital for any organization’s success. A lack of a change strategy sets up any new project or implementation plan for failure.
An effective change management strategy involves planning a project by identifying the root causes of issues and building relationships with all stakeholders and employees.
Lack of a digital transformation strategy
Why are you replacing legacy systems and manual processes with new digital systems? Does your organisation have a plan (or need) to implement advanced and complex systems? Are you ready to properly migrate your existing systems to new ones?
These are all questions that should be answered before implementing a digital transformation process. There is no such thing as a successful transformation project without a predetermined strategy. Don’t be sold on false assumptions and buzzwords. Start from there. Know where your organisation can be improved. What areas of the company are in need of improvement?
Lack of Proper IT Skills
To succeed in your transformation efforts, you’ll need a skilled, high-performing IT team. And that is difficult to put together – especially in the current tech worker shortage. According to an enterprise study, 54% of organisations said that they’re not able to accomplish their digital transformation goals because of a lack of technically-skilled employees.
The challenges presented to organisations include a lack of skill sets in cybersecurity, application architecture, software integrations, data analytics, and data migration. Organizations that lack IT professionals can combat this challenge by outsourcing this work to outside consultants and digital transformation experts to help bridge the implementation and migration gap.
Complex software and technologies
Enterprise software is inherently complex. New technologies can be intimidating. This is a large challenge for organisations undergoing digital transformation — both from an implementation and data integration perspective, as well as from an end-user experience perspective. Leaders should consider this when in the early stages of a transformation project.
Driving Adoption of New Tools and Processes
New processes and technologies often present challenges in the form of resistance to change from tenured employees who feel there is nothing wrong with the way they’re currently doing things. For new software implementations, organisations must provide comprehensive onboarding training, as well as continuous employee performance support to help employees become productive and proficient with a tool quickly, allowing them to understand the value of these new processes.
Continuous Evolution of Customers’ Needs
Organizations are always evolving – and COVID-19 accelerated this. Consider what a customer wants. That changes as the world evolves and industries change.
Digital transformation is not an easy project, and intensive transformation efforts can take years to accomplish. What happens if, during that time, your customer’s needs change? The evolution of customer problems will happen. Don’t be surprised, and plan to be agile when it comes time to adopt new digital technologies.
A push back that many enterprise organisations in data-sensitive industries have is privacy and cybersecurity concerns. And that is valid. Most digital transformation efforts involve leaving behind on-premise solutions to move to the cloud, as well as integrating all of a company’s data into one centralized system.
Of course, this brings up the increased threat of cyberattacks stealing customer data and company secrets. Online attacks can target system vulnerabilities, poor setups, and unsuspecting users. Be sure to have a plan in place to proactively mitigate these threats before they happen. Bring in a cybersecurity expert to help identify weaknesses in your defense.
Digital transformation is not a cheap investment. For organisations that have a less-than-stellar transformation strategy, scope creep can slowly start to push back deadlines and add in new work – all adding to the cost of a project. Add in any consultation work, changes in your customer’s needs, or IT errors, and the cost of digital transformation continues to increase.
Understand what your long-term goals are and what ROI you plan to achieve from your transformation process. This will help you clearly understand what spending is too much and what room you have to increase your budget.
Organizations with legacy systems and manual processes often have an old-school mentality. Things change slowly, automation is looked down upon, and new technologies are difficult to adopt. One huge challenge of digital transformation is a cultural one. Everyone — from leadership to new employees — must be on the same page. Everyone should be willing to make significant changes in their daily lives and not be afraid to learn new things.
When asked about best practices, industry trends, or advice he would like to suggest to fellow technology leaders for their successful professional journeys, he said,
Some of the best practises while undertaking a digital transformation journey are:
Digital Transformation Strategy
Develop a digital transformation strategy (with clearly defined goals, objectives, and outcomes) that aligns with the business strategy of the organization.
Assess the current state of As-Is processes, identify gaps, and define changes such as To-Be processes required to achieve business goals.
Invest considerable time and effort in redefining data architecture, which will help IT add more value to the business and, in turn, help the business decision makers to take a data-driven approach to stay competitive in the current market landscape.
Identify the tools and technologies needed to enable the To-Be processes defined and establish a standardised reference architecture.
Plan how the future mode of operations will impact your organisational structure and people.
Outline the culture, behaviour, and norms you need people to adopt.
Metrics and Key Performance Indicators
Establish how performance will be measured and Key Performance Indicators to drive ongoing, end-to-end service delivery.
Establish a robust operational governance structure that drives strategic alignment and promotes good decision making.
Build a community of change champions charged with building change momentum, driving continuous improvement, and measuring outcomes.
He highlighted that in today’s world and era, what excites me the most is the list of endless opportunities that have been created due to some of the technology disruption happening across the globe. Technology is no longer the cost centre but the business enabler and will enable different and innovative business models that the world is going to witness in the coming decades.
CIO News, a proprietary of Mercadeo, produces award-winning content and resources for IT leaders across any industry through print articles and recorded video interviews on topics in the technology sector such as Digital Transformation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Cloud, Robotics, Cyber-security, Data, Analytics, SOC, SASE, among other technology topics