Smart CEOs see change as a team effort. While somebody needs to set the course, arriving at the desired destination requires many people to work together with minimal friction and maximum efficiency. Intelligent technology is a perfect assistant for this undertaking, liberating humans from mundane tasks and allowing employees to focus on mission-critical objectives instead.
It’s easy to overlook the crucial role that IT often plays in successfully managing change, given that public attention typically focuses on executive decisions at the top. In some ways, that’s understandable. Take Apple, for example. Developing a product as disruptive as the iPhone was a high-risk gamble – a decision that only an exceptional executive like the late Steve Jobs had the authority (and audacity) to make. But following that decision, it took the efforts of thousands of engineers, developers, designers, and other employees to steer the company away from its traditional computer business, turning it into the world’s most profitable smartphone maker.
A success like this requires both inspiration and careful execution. Turning visions into reality may appear to be the less glamourous part of the equation but it’s equally important. Technology plays an ever-growing role in helping companies transition from past to future. By 2022, more than 60 per cent of global GDP will be digitised, market researcher IDC predicts, and growth in every industry will be “driven by digitally-enhanced offerings, operations, and relationships”, leading the analysts to conclude: “Business leaders in every enterprise must put digital transformation at the top of their priority list.”
Still, acting on this insight is often a challenge. Legacy systems and entrenched attitudes – “That’s the way we’ve always done it” – can become significant burdens to organisational change. Making the transition as easy as possible is crucial, therefore, and this task starts with IT. Machine learning and data analysis, for example, can help identify internal bottle necks and optimise workflows, while offloading data into the cloud frees resources better used elsewhere in the company.
The results are often dramatic. When the Australian Finance Group, one of the country’s largest mortgage brokers, decided to overhaul its approval process by employing a suite of Oracle cloud solutions, it saw a 45 per cent reduction in total cost of ownership. In Britain, patients of Turning Point, a treatment and counseling agency, saw wait times for appointments drop from four weeks to as little as two days after the organisation switched from an in-house reservation system to a cloud solution.
Trust is at the center of any transformation of this kind: trust in the providers of technology solutions that need to reliably handle sensitive customer data, but also trust of executives in their own teams. Because digital change is too big a task for any one person to handle alone.
Read more about how IT leaders view Innovation in our report.