How to Lead your Organization through a Digital Transformation

Under pressure to transform its operations digitally, GameStop Corp announced that they hired former Inc. executive Matt Francis as their first chief technology officer. GameStop’s change of focus from its 5,000 stores to e-commerce is due to activist investor Ryan Cohen. Mr. Francis will be overseeing GameStop’s e-commerce and technology functions.

Experts say that for a technology executive to be a successful digital transformation leader, they must have a special set of business and technology skills. These skills include, but are not limited to:

Map Data’s Role Across the Business
Starting with a digital transformation mission will put the focus on technology without understanding the business context. It is important to start with business transformation first to understand how data plays a role in customer engagement and business operations over time. Next, map technology against those strategies and understand where technology transformation is needed. By doing these things, focus changes from bottom-up to top-down, which creates a clear context for change.

Communicate in Language the C-Suite Understands
Understanding technical requirements as well as being able to put them into non-technical business language is important. Although fellow businesspeople may understand your viewpoints, it is best to keep it simple so that people can buy into your plan and are more willing to help out. The best digital transformation leader is one that communicates well, is seen as a colleague, and is seen to be an expert in IT.

Be a Talent Magnet
Being a really strong people leader is something that sets a lot of technology executives apart. No one is going to be able to solve all of the problems that may occur in a digital transformation. They need to set themselves apart in the competition for talent.

Connect Tech Investments to New Lines of Business
Many chief technology officers have to communicate with chief executives, boards, and other C-suite stakeholders to help construct and deliver technology that will be the right fit for the process. It is the digital transformation leader’s job to be in charge of the change when it comes to conversations about how the change will affect costs and revenue. Although many see technology as a way to cut costs, many are coming to realize that with technology, you can create new productivity, products, and lines of business.

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