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A CEO’s guide to digital transformation

The future is tech. Until now organizations have been hesitant to take a 360° digital turnaround. But the last two pandemic-induced years have made digital workspaces, digital gatherings and digital offerings a mandatory part of any company’s DNA. And nobody can drive a successful reinvention like a CEO can. Only CEOs can bring together all departments to lead large scale investments and changes. A digital CEO, so to say, will be the talk of the town in only a matter of a few years from now. 

To truly digitally transform, companies need to take a holistic approach that embraces remote work, new organization models, and visionary leadership to transform company culture at its core.

CEO’s way forward

Even though this top-down makeover must be spearheaded by a CEO, they need all the help they can get. We want to see digital CEOs working closely with their CHROs to create flexible career pathways where talented employees have opportunities to progress, learn, and grow their skills.

One of the most significant differentiators among successful digital companies is the degree to which digital technologists work closely with the business. That means expanding beyond the traditional G3 (Group of three) structure of the CEO, CFO, and CHRO to a G4 to include a top tech and data leader to shape decisions around capital allocation, strategy, organizational design, and risk. The whole C-suite must be primed and prepped for a transformation that will create a future-proof business.


Organizations can begin small with strategic implementations like social media, social commerce, social recommendations and scale up with artificial intelligence, IoT in stores, VR commerce, and more. 

After delving into the real and perceived challenges of corporate digital transformation efforts, CEOs can work by a playbook for a successful, culture-based transformation initiative. Here are three key areas of the playbook to focus on right now:

#1 Decoding the wave of digital

The one and the only point of digital transformation is to… yep, generate value for business!

A successful CEO is able to look past the current standing of their business and reimagine it within a new framework. They look long and hard for the value that their company could be delivering if it had means and access to digital offerings.

To invoke the value, CEOs must zero in on a domain - the seemingly mountainous challenge on the road to digital transformation. As many as 80 percent of successful interventions in struggling transformations are based on refocusing it on a domain. When a domain is the focal point of strategizing a digital transformation, you’re less likely to run haywire into disconnected activities. Thereby, diluting substantial value that a CEO is trying to build. 

Therefore, a CEO must walk in tandem with their C-suite allies to work through the specifics of a domain even before working on a strategy for digital transformation. 

#2 Inviting top talent to join hands

Hiring and attracting top talent is one of the most fool-proof ways of catering a domain less known. Successful CEOs help their organization address the role of corporate culture and purpose in attracting and keeping exceptional talent. The CEO can drive changes in the company’s culture and processes to appeal to them, work with the CHRO to create flexible career pathways where they can grow their skills and progress professionally, and—perhaps most crucial—develop and communicate the company’s higher purpose.

#3 Using data to solve business problems 

If the future is tech, businesses must be steel-armored with tech advancements. A successful CEO knows for sure that data and technology are the core of their business - or any business and plans and prioritizes for that. A common motivation to build businesses among all business owners is to be able to solve real life problems. We’re progressing towards a world where most of our problems - ranging from medical to agricultural to even corporate - everything can be resolved with tech intervention.  

That requires them to allocate maximum technology spends towards digital efforts. Digital businesses must be able to apply AI- and ML-driven software to convert data into actionable insights, much like Amber does. Amber is an Artificial Intelligence bot that engages with employees to predict disengagement. The makers of Amber have whole-heartedly invested in People Science to collect and decode data that will eventually help other organizations retain their top talent.

Successful digital CEOs make sure that the tech leaders are part of the inner circle in the C-suite and report directly to them.


The bottom line

Digital transformation is not a destination; it’s a permanent state of evolution. It can only happen when all CXOs, irrespective of their segments, take on the belief of digital adoption and are convinced it will help them and the business grow.

Leverage the power of AI to engaged your top performers!

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Shivangi Gautam
Shivangi Gautam

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