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How can the C-suite drive digital transformation globally?

C suite leaders and co workers in the boardroom

ARTICLE SUMMARY

The majority of business leaders recognize that digital is permanently changing the competitive landscape across all sectors and that those who fail to adapt risk their business future globally.

While only 11% of respondents to a McKinsey survey believe their current business model will remain viable through 2023, the underlying issue is that many don’t know what their role in the digital transformation journey should be. This is a critical problem for organizations in an age where the productivity, convenience, and consumer and employee experience afforded by digitalisation are anticipated.

Although 70% of organisations have at least piloted automation technologies in one or more business areas, less than 20% have scaled automation technologies across multiple parts of the organisation. Scaling automation is imperative for businesses to realize the full benefits of digital transformation, this also puts you ahead of your competitors.

IN THIS PIECE, LISA JOHNSTON, SENIOR EXECUTIVE – RPA TECHNOLOGIST, SS&C BLUE PRISM, EXPLORES HOW C-SUITE LEADERS CAN DRIVE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION ON A GLOBAL SCALE.

Lisa is a renowned technologist with over 20 years’ experience in delivering digital transformation projects to many global Fortune 500 companies. Her advocacy work has helped guide legislation changes to allow the introduction and acceptance of electronic signatures for eConveyancing in Australia. As a Senior Executive at Intelligent Automation Market Leader SS&C Blue Prism, Lisa has been at the forefront of optimising automation for some of Australia’s leading Financial Services Institutions.

Lastly, Lisa is a champion for SS&C Blue Prism’s Women Powering Digital Transformation Programme. SS&C Blue Prism are committed to raising awareness to the value a diverse and inclusive workforce can bring by sponsoring women-centered business events, volunteering in our communities, and providing learning opportunities for girls interested in technology careers.

ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF ANOTHER

According to McKinsey, “for businesses…without focused and active CEO commitment, there is almost no chance of success.” And Forrester recently deemed CEOs the “chief champions” for digital transformation.

Organisations that are falling behind, need to understand the internal opportunities to build the right work culture, we are seeing a paradigm shift of removing a task from a human to a digital worker and to have a united workforce this needs to be embraced and to instill the stewardship of an engaging leader to drive transformation.

HOW LEADERSHIP IS THE BREAK OR MAKE OF DIGITAL INITIATIVES

To unleash the true value of digital transformation, human and digital workers need to be unified in a collaborative network, processes need to be reengineered to align with the best outcomes for the business, and intelligent automation needs to be strategically deployed and scaled enterprise wide. Leadership is key to accomplishing this effectively.

Business leaders are essential to the development and implementation of a common vision, getting employees on board, overseeing progress, and ultimately scaling the value of automation across the enterprise. It is also important to recognise this as a win for customer experience and customer satisfaction.

IT ALL STARTS WITH A VISION

Any successful digital transformation begins with strategy and vision, and this must be cultivated by the CEO and C-suite of an organisation. This is an area many undervalues, but a vision provides everyone with something to work towards, motivating them by generating visibility through the yearly strategy.

Without vision, digitalisation is aimless and inefficient. The call to action is to think big. Leaders need to answer key questions: Why are they automating? What need or challenge are they trying to resolve? How will intelligent automation be most impactful? What are their long-term objectives with digital transformation and how will they impact employees?

These answers then inform a strategy anchored in practical value. Such a strategy needs to be adaptable to accommodate changing needs and should be kept in mind when making any budgetary or procurement decisions. Failure arises when organisations systems are segregated and when they depend on manual reconciliation. Having the right tool set is the first step. Only then will any adopted solutions contribute towards company objectives, achieving faster returns on investment and saving potential reworking costs down the road.

The CEO’s influence and authority make them essential when it comes to implementing a vision across operations. With their endorsement, this vision will be reflected in workers’ behaviours and motivations, promoting success-driving innovation. Leaders must ensure that employees can buy into this dream.

IT TAKES A TOWN: DEFINING ROLES

While the CEO and C-suite play a pivotal role in the digitalisation journey, the rest of the organisation is integral to bringing the CEO’s vision to reality. Employees are the ones building, implementing, and working with automations, making it key that business leaders orchestrate their teams effectively and clearly communicate the revised set of roles and responsibilities.

Once buy-in has been established, and roles and responsibilities have been clearly defined, there must be accountability measures in place to ensure progress and momentum is maintained. Specific goals should be set out on a quarterly and yearly basis. These can be related to time savings, reductions in errors, faster cycle times, and improved customer experiences. This is where the real tangible benefits that touch the customer, employee and the business are set up for success.

A federated structure will spur the adoption of automation while also mitigating risks. With this approach, a Center of Excellence (CoE) is responsible for selecting the technology vendors, establishing best practices, and providing governance. Then each business unit identifies automation champions to be responsible for driving automation within that department under the guidance of the CoE.

Employees should also be encouraged to offer insights and feedback. By promoting a curious-driven culture that recognises the learning opportunities from any mistakes made, innovation will increase, productivity-boosting ideas and practices will be uncovered, and an agile and collaborative workforce will unfold. 

The CEO and C-suite should remain in regular conversation with automation leaders, getting their feedback and adapting their strategy and plans as needed. Meetings with stakeholders to assess progress against predetermined key performance indicators should be held regularly. This ensures that digital transformation goals remain on track and allows any issues to be recognized and addressed. Strategy, plans, and goals remain flexible and adaptable to reflect what is best for the organization.

With more accountability, feedback, and ongoing conversation, comes greater opportunities for recognition and career progression. Celebrating successes and the prospect of career growth encourages greater buy-in for automation programs.

SOURCING THE BEST TALENT

Finding the right team members is one of the biggest struggles organizations encounter, especially amid tech skill and talent shortages. In addition to surveying who has the existing skills and interest to join in on transformation projects, business leaders need to provide resources for reskilling or upskilling those workers with the willingness to learn and make career changes.

By sourcing workers with tangentially related skills, leaders can facilitate the development of in-house technologists from within their existing workforce. These technologists can make use of a comprehensive low-code or no-code intelligent automation platform that is equipped with advanced technologies to support digital transformation within the organization. Through the use of such an intelligent automation platform, workers can unleash the value of advanced technologies like robotic process automation and artificial intelligence. It is this triumvirate of human worker, SS&C Blue Prism and Artificial Intelligence that allows you to deliver a real and effective solution.

GOING THE EXTRA MILE WITH DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

According to research featured in Harvard Business Review, change management

practices like leaders modeling behaviors and involvement from CEOs and top executives lead to the best returns. While advanced technology tools are widely available in the market, ultimately true transformational value can only be achieved when the solutions are deployed strategically with the collaboration of the entire organization. Under the stewardship of an involved and visionary leader, digital transformation initiatives can be better aligned to strategic corporate goals across the entire organisation and collaboration across business functions can be achieved.

All employees will collaborate to work towards key business objectives. Interconnected processes will deliver better experiences to both customers and employees at scale. Digital is not a destination, it’s an ongoing journey that demands the indefinite commitment of a determined leader. This combined with a strong intelligent automation partner that fits the needs of the vision will unleash transformative value, locking in digital transformation success.

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