As the pace of digital disruption continues to increase, British companies are at risk of falling behind the USA. According to research by PwC, only five percent of companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa are "digital champions", compared to 11 percent of those across the pond.
At the BoxWorks conference in San Francisco, CIO UK heard how some of the leading CIOs in the US are approaching digital transformation.
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September 4, 2018
2. State Street CIO Adeel Saeed
© State Street
State Street CIO Adeel Saeed helps the 226-year-old investment bank adapt to the rapid changes in the financial services industry by focusing on two key priorities.
"First is to protect ourselves and the second is to disrupt ourselves," he said. "If you think of both paradigms, I think the priority that we have is how do we enable our internal customers to be able too serve our external customers."
He does this by empowering his internal staff.
"We give them the tools, the seamlessness, the interoperability, the flexibility, the collaborative ability for them to be able to communicate with anyone, anywhere, anytime globally, without having to pick up the phone and to call the proverbial help desk," he said. "That is what we're looking for and that's the plan."
4. Herbalife CIO Rich Libby
Herbalife CIO Rich Libby concentrates his digital transformation efforts on two central components.
"One is the externally facing sales organisation and the global operation, and the other one is the internally facing employees," he said. "You've got hundreds of thousands of people that sell on behalf of the brand that are not under our direct supervision but reliant on our assets, information about the products and training, and it's really important that the individuals are successful, and it's also really important that they're accurate and that they stay on pride."
He ensures that staff understand the work isn't over when the project is complete, removes the old tools that the new ones should replace, and focuses on user needs to drive adoption.
"Both internally and externally, it's not a top-down thing. It's all user-based demand and that's changing the way we need to deliver information. We have to deliver digitally, we have to deliver to a mobile device and it has been to when they want it and where they are."
5. Cosmopolitan Las Vegas CIO Philip Irby
© Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
Cosmopolitan Las Vegas CIO Philip Irby weaves new technology into the luxury resort experience, such as a chatbot working as a digital concierge, by getting his IT team on board first.
He does this by developing and promoting the business's guiding principles around digital transformation, so that the vision and aligns with the strategy. Every quarter, he meets with his team and walks them through these principles again.
"You've got to continually try and try and try to drive it," he said. "I've worked with two different people in my life that have [versions of] the same quote. One was, 'silicone's easy; carbon's hard', meaning technology's the easy part, carbon-based life forms are the hard part. And the other one was, 'there are no technology problems; there are only people problems'.
"So you can put the technology out there, but if the people that you employ won't adopt it, if they fight against it, the only way I can see to combat that is continual education, consistency and just the discipline within my own organisation to not let my people agree with the people that are the dissenters. They have to believe in the vision or else you're dead from the beginning."