Why digital transformation is now in the CEO's hands

By Rob Stummer, SYSPRO CEO Asia Pacific

By Rob Stummer, SYSPRO CEO Asia Pacific

Digital transformation holds such disruptive power that it has inverted the dynamics of technology leadership. Having risen to the top of the agenda of corporate boards and CEO’s strategic plans and objectives it is now being driven from the top by the CEO themselves, rather than from the IT department as technology adoption has been for decades.

With the CEO now championing digital transformation displaying their 100% buy-in will not only encourage employees working within the organisation to get on board, but it will also show all external stakeholders that the CEO and therefore the entire organisation, is truly committed to completely transforming the business.  

For a successful digital transformation strategy to be achieved, the CEO will need to define the roles and responsibilities of those people in leadership positions. If this is not articulated clearly, it could lead to issues, including execution gaps and infighting which will undermine the digital transformation journey. 

Allocating Funds and Resources

It will cost money and time to digitally transform any business – large or small – effectively and teams will need to have access to funding and resources. It is the CEO’s responsibility to free up money and resources and allocate them both accordingly. 

When assigning roles and responsibilities to business leaders, the CEO will also need to talk about realistic financial models. Clear priorities should be set early in the digital transformation program by the CEO so that all business leaders and employees are aligned on what needs to happen first. 

The CEO will also need to free up people from different departments to dedicate all their time to the digital transformation program. This will most likely entail removing top performers who are important to achieving short term business objectives. The CEO will have to articulate why these individuals are best suited elsewhere to help the company accomplish long-term goals, as well as help business leaders help their managers reassign responsibilities. 

Removing the Barriers to Transformation

Digital transformation strategies are essentially change management programs and as such, come with the same obstacles – people resisting change and others wanting to adapt things too fast. 

The CEO will need to step in and make sure that the selected transformation leadership team is regularly meeting with all members at every level of the business to openly discuss how the program is going and give employees the opportunity to raise any issues or deal with resistance.

It is important the CEO is seen to be a part of these discussions and be a key member in the team that helps solve issues and challenges. As no two organisations are the same, the barriers will also be different and require individual solutions.

A future-fit ERP will guide a business on its DX journey

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, often regarded as something that just runs in the background, are a good business management tool for a CEO to have a birds-eye view on what is going on in their company and identify the gaps in the business where exponential value can be added. 

By implementing a future-fit ERP solution, organisations can easily incorporate new, emerging technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and Digital Citizens, into their operation. This will not only make the digitisation process easier, but also open the door to greater efficiencies and growth as well as to identify new opportunities to innovate. 

Using an ERP system means greater and more efficient controls. This ensures the CEO has accurate and real-time information and assists management to maintain a firm grip on operations. The ERP dashboard gives the CEO a consolidated and comprehensive quick and easy reference of where their business is currently standing with drill-down capabilities. 

For a digital transformation journey to be effective, CEOs need to react to challenges fast and effortlessly and an ERP system provides the critical information needed to do this. Stats such as weekly sales, employee performance, and inventory levels, are all examples of items quickly available, showing real-time growth or changes in the business.

As digital transformation is about re-engineering a company to fit the future’s way of doing business, it is important for the CEO to have an idea of how the organisation will operate in the future. It needs to be agile enough to respond to challenges, opportunities and market trends.

ERP is a toolset that goes well beyond management – it helps everyone in their individual roles and day-to-day operations.  A well implemented ERP system will provide benefits that can support a company’s overall digital transformation strategy.


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