However, in general terms, we define digital transformation as the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business resulting in fundamental changes to how businesses operate and how they deliver value to customers. Beyond that, it's a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment often, and get comfortable with failure. This sometimes means walking away from long-standing business processes that companies were built upon in favor of relatively new practices that are still being defined.
Learn 4 key digital transformation leadership priorities in a new report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. Digital transformation should begin with a problem statement, a clear opportunity, or an aspirational goal, Jay Ferro , CIO of Quikrete , recently explain e d. Leaders, think about what digital transformation will mean — in practice - to your company and how you will articulate it. At Monsanto, Swanson discussed digital transformation in terms of customer centricity.
Understanding what digital means to your company — whether you're a financial, agricultural, pharmaceutical, or retail institution — is essential. Melissa Swift, who leads Korn Ferry's Digital Advisory for North America and Global Accounts, agrees with Swanson's take that that the word "digital" has a problem because it means a lot of things to a lot of people.
Leaders need to be fully aware of this reality as they frame conversations around digital transformation. For advice from Swift on how to speak to this topic without getting burned, read our related article, Why people love to hate digital transformation. How has the skill set changed? What's coming next?
And spending priorities reflect this reality. That compares to Sandy Pentland, a professor at the MIT Media Lab, described how optimized automated systems in areas like supply chain management broke down when faced with rapid shifts in both demand and supply — a reality that just about everyone has faced on a personal level during the pandemic. It's early to guess which long-term consumer behavior changes will stick. McKinsey data shows that the accelerated shift towards streaming and online fitness is likely to stay permanently, Zemmel says.
But the biggest shifts were around food. Both home cooking and online grocery shopping — a category that has been generally resistant to getting moved online — will probably stay more popular with consumers than in the past.
Cashless transactions are also gaining steam. On the B2B side, McKinsey data shows remote selling is working. Mark Anderson, senior director of solution architecture, Equinix , described this year as "a forced test of many things we had thought about but not tried. We've started looking at technologies like blockchain and IoT. As Dion Hinchcliffe, VP and principal analyst at Constellation Research , writes : "The top IT executives in today's rapidly evolving organizations must match the pace of change, fall behind, or lead the pack.
That's the existential issue at stake in today's digitally-infused times, where bold action must be actively supported by out-of-the-box experimentation and pathfinding. This must be done while managing the inexorable daily drumbeat of operational issues, service delivery, and the distracting vagaries of the unpredictable, such as a major cyberattack or information breach. Improving customer experience has become a crucial goal — and thus a crucial part of digital transformation.
Hinchcliffe calls seamless customer experience " the most important discriminating factor for how a business will perform. Learn the four priorities top CIOs are focusing on now. Take employee experience for example, she suggests. Consequently, it's getting the problem-solving focus it likely long deserved. In response to the pandemic, CIOs have also embraced the notion that "the perfect is the enemy of the good," Swift adds.
In response to dramatic disruption, many organizations have undergone a healthy re-negotiation of their relationship to digital technology — prioritizing "hey, it works! Although digital transformation will vary widely based on organization's specific challenges and demands, there are a few constants and common themes among existing case studies and published frameworks that all business and technology leaders should consider as they embark on digital transformation.
While each guide has its own recommendations and varying steps or considerations, CIOs should look for those important shared themes when developing their own digital transformation strategy. Altimeter: Six Stages of Digital Transformation. In recent years, IT's role has fundamentally shifted. Rather than focusing on cost savings, IT has become the primary driver of business innovation. Embracing this shift requires everyone in the company to rethink the role and impact of IT in their day-to-day experience.
Bryson Koehler, CTO, Equifax, says, "There is a very different mindset at work when you take IT out of an operating mode of, 'Let's run a bunch of packaged solutions that we've bought and stood up' to 'Let's build and create new capabilities that didn't exist before. If you're trying to create innovation inside of a large enterprise then you shouldn't start with that either.
You're not here to run the mainframe anymore. You're not here to run the servers. You're not here to run the data center, or the network, or operations. That is table stakes. That's what you can outsource. Although IT will play an important role in driving digital transformation strategy, the work of implementing and adapting to the massive changes that go along with digital transformation falls to everyone.
For this reason, digital transformation is a people issue. IT leaders find themselves working in cross-functional teams more than ever. Digital transformation initiatives often reshape workgroups, job titles, and longtime business processes. When people fear their value and perhaps their jobs are at risk, IT leaders will feel the pushback. Thus leadership " soft skills " — which turn out to be rather hard — are in great demand.
You need to have leaders that know what "good" looks like and who are motivated to help the organization understand why you're doing what you're doing. Read our related article, 10 things leaders with emotional intelligence never do. Korn Ferry's Swift, who leads Digital Advisory for North America and Global Accounts, finds in her consulting work that three groups of employees tend to slow transformation momentum: Old-timers, by-the-book players, and lone wolves.
Companies must not ignore but engage these three groups — or face perilous stalls, she writes. How to do that? Her first suggestion: Think about your population in a segmented fashion, and work to meet different segments where they are. New teams! Welcome to the new world! Companies should consider both digital experience and behavioral preferences of different sub-populations within their organization, and they should craft messaging, programs, and even environments to hit the right starting point and realistic end point for different groups.
An important element of digital transformation is, of course, technology. But often, it's more about shedding outdated processes and legacy technology than it is about adopting new tech. It's also about enabling innovation. In the area of government IT, for example, more government agencies are on the verge of realizing the cloud model's full potential - beyond cost-cutting to using cloud for strategic advantage, notes Dave Egts , chief technologist, North America Public Sector, Red Hat.
The prevalence of legacy technology in enterprise IT still hinders CIOs' ability to successfully embark on a digital transformation strategy. And this expenditure will grow as technology ages and becomes more susceptible," Devin notes. What's more, new technologies are built using cloud architectures and approaches , she points out: "What is the long-term value of leveraging the best new technology for your business and customers? A critical factor driving legacy upgrades, according to a recent Deloitte survey, is technological relevance, she says.
If businesses want to evolve with the rapid pace of digital change today, they must work to increase efficiency with technology wherever possible. For many, that means adopting agile principles across the business. Automation technologies also help many IT organizations gain speed and reduce technical debt. We must take strong steps to reduce the risks that digital assets could pose to consumers, investors, and business protections; financial stability and financial system integrity; combating and preventing crime and illicit finance; national security; the ability to exercise human rights; financial inclusion and equity; and climate change and pollution.
The principal policy objectives of the United States with respect to digital assets are as follows: a We must protect consumers, investors, and businesses in the United States. The unique and varied features of digital assets can pose significant financial risks to consumers, investors, and businesses if appropriate protections are not in place.
In the absence of sufficient oversight and standards, firms providing digital asset services may provide inadequate protections for sensitive financial data, custodial and other arrangements relating to customer assets and funds, or disclosures of risks associated with investment. Cybersecurity and market failures at major digital asset exchanges and trading platforms have resulted in billions of dollars in losses.
The United States should ensure that safeguards are in place and promote the responsible development of digital assets to protect consumers, investors, and businesses; maintain privacy; and shield against arbitrary or unlawful surveillance, which can contribute to human rights abuses. Some digital asset trading platforms and service providers have grown rapidly in size and complexity and may not be subject to or in compliance with appropriate regulations or supervision.
Digital assets may pose significant illicit finance risks, including money laundering, cybercrime and ransomware, narcotics and human trafficking, and terrorism and proliferation financing. Digital assets may also be used as a tool to circumvent United States and foreign financial sanctions regimes and other tools and authorities.
Illicit actors, including the perpetrators of ransomware incidents and other cybercrime, often launder and cash out of their illicit proceeds using digital asset service providers in jurisdictions that have not yet effectively implemented the international standards set by the inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force FATF.
Growth in decentralized financial ecosystems, peer-to-peer payment activity, and obscured blockchain ledgers without controls to mitigate illicit finance could also present additional market and national security risks in the future. The United States must ensure appropriate controls and accountability for current and future digital assets systems to promote high standards for transparency, privacy, and security — including through regulatory, governance, and technological measures — that counter illicit activities and preserve or enhance the efficacy of our national security tools.
When digital assets are abused or used in illicit ways, or undermine national security, it is in the national interest to take actions to mitigate these illicit finance and national security risks through regulation, oversight, law enforcement action, or use of other United States Government authorities. The United States has an interest in ensuring that it remains at the forefront of responsible development and design of digital assets and the technology that underpins new forms of payments and capital flows in the international financial system, particularly in setting standards that promote: democratic values; the rule of law; privacy; the protection of consumers, investors, and businesses; and interoperability with digital platforms, legacy architecture, and international payment systems.
The United States derives significant economic and national security benefits from the central role that the United States dollar and United States financial institutions and markets play in the global financial system. Continued United States leadership in the global financial system will sustain United States financial power and promote United States economic interests.
Many Americans are underbanked and the costs of cross-border money transfers and payments are high. The United States has a strong interest in promoting responsible innovation that expands equitable access to financial services, particularly for those Americans underserved by the traditional banking system, including by making investments and domestic and cross-border funds transfers and payments cheaper, faster, and safer, and by promoting greater and more cost-efficient access to financial products and services.
The United States also has an interest in ensuring that the benefits of financial innovation are enjoyed equitably by all Americans and that any disparate impacts of financial innovation are mitigated. The technological architecture of different digital assets has substantial implications for privacy, national security, the operational security and resilience of financial systems, climate change, the ability to exercise human rights, and other national goals.
The United States has an interest in ensuring that digital asset technologies and the digital payments ecosystem are developed, designed, and implemented in a responsible manner that includes privacy and security in their architecture, integrates features and controls that defend against illicit exploitation, and reduces negative climate impacts and environmental pollution, as may result from some cryptocurrency mining.
My Administration places the highest urgency on research and development efforts into the potential design and deployment options of a United States CBDC. These efforts should include assessments of possible benefits and risks for consumers, investors, and businesses; financial stability and systemic risk; payment systems; national security; the ability to exercise human rights; financial inclusion and equity; and the actions required to launch a United States CBDC if doing so is deemed to be in the national interest.
Any future dollar payment system should be designed in a way that is consistent with United States priorities as outlined in section 4 a i of this order and democratic values, including privacy protections, and that ensures the global financial system has appropriate transparency, connectivity, and platform and architecture interoperability or transferability, as appropriate.
A United States CBDC that is interoperable with CBDCs issued by other monetary authorities could facilitate faster and lower-cost cross-border payments and potentially boost economic growth, support the continued centrality of the United States within the international financial system, and help to protect the unique role that the dollar plays in global finance.
There are also, however, potential risks and downsides to consider. We should prioritize timely assessments of potential benefits and risks under various designs to ensure that the United States remains a leader in the international financial system. This report shall be coordinated through the interagency process described in section 3 of this order. The Chairman of the Federal Reserve is also encouraged to evaluate the extent to which a United States CBDC, based on the potential design options, could enhance or impede the ability of monetary policy to function effectively as a critical macroeconomic stabilization tool.
Measures to Protect Consumers, Investors, and Businesses. The rise in use of digital assets, and differences across communities, may also present disparate financial risk to less informed market participants or exacerbate inequities. It is critical to ensure that digital assets do not pose undue risks to consumers, investors, or businesses, and to put in place protections as a part of efforts to expand access to safe and affordable financial services.
One section of the report shall address the conditions that would drive mass adoption of different types of digital assets and the risks and opportunities such growth might present to United States consumers, investors, and businesses, including a focus on how technological innovation may impact these efforts and with an eye toward those most vulnerable to disparate impacts.
The report shall also include policy recommendations, including potential regulatory and legislative actions, as appropriate, to protect United States consumers, investors, and businesses, and support expanding access to safe and affordable financial services. The report shall be coordinated through the interagency process described in section 3 of this order. The evaluation should specifically address the technical risks of the various designs, including with respect to emerging and future technological developments, such as quantum computing.
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