CIO: Driving the adoption of digital platforms

February 18, 2021 | David Daly 5 Mins read

Any CIO at a multinational organization will be interested in new technology that can result in a competitive edge. Digital platforms are never far from the news these days as organizations everywhere increase their adoption of them in an attempt to introduce operational efficiencies across a range of different business functions.

It makes sense that a CIO will look closely at the ways in which digital platforms, especially those that can be connected for smooth data flows, can help to digitally transform functionality within departments that are constantly growing and handling new levels of complexity. Digital platforms can help to relieve the burden of such complexity while improving business processes and also laying the foundations for future success.

In this article, we will examine the reasons why the adoption of digital platforms is on the rise and explore why CIOs should be looking to invest right now in a next generation digital platform.

More than technology, a business model

It is not really about purchasing new technologies or working on an integration project that could link three or four separate yet interconnected departments. These are the results of a digital platform- instead, adoption is really about utilizing digital platforms so that they form part of new business models.

It is about viewing them as business drivers and employee enablers, instead of simply standalone digital technologies. Leveraging digital platforms has now evolved into a business mindset as the CIO, IT leaders and other members of the C-Suite leadership team, look to push the envelope on what can be achieved in the internal ecosystem with cloud-based technology.

If you focus solely on technology and features, you can introduce digital innovation that improves specific processes within an individual department.  There is nothing specifically wrong with this, but it would be unwise to take a narrow focus with a digital technology that has such enormous scope and transformative capability built in.

If you adopt a digital platform mindset, then you are taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture. You are asking the more important questions- namely, can cloud based digital technology change everything we do from product development right up to go to market strategy. The answer is of course that it can.

So, searching for the right digital platform while developing and implementing an operating model that is cloud focused, adaptable and scalable will enable a CIO to introduce something that can provide long-term business value.

Accelerate digital transformation

One thing it can start to do immediately is accelerate any efforts that have already taken place in terms of a digital transformation project. Digital platforms are the technology that should be adopted right from the outset of any digital transformation project. Such platforms are flexible and innovative, and many come with a built- in capacity for scaling and growth.

In many ways, they are purpose built to handle high volume tasks while introducing speed and efficiency to repeatable and recurring processes that take place in administration heavy departments and business units such as human resources and global payroll.

Digital platforms often feature innovative digital tools along with intuitive design that is ideal for transforming procedures and processes that are currently relying on either legacy technology or manual input. A digital platform can consign these to the past- and if they are placing restrictions and limitations on the professionals who are utilizing them, then the past is where they belong.

Speed, efficiency and productivity are all things that can be associated with acceleration. A CIO who currently has one or several digital transformation projects in motion that may be suffering from stagnation or a slowdown in momentum, should carefully consider how adopting a digital platform could reinvigorate these projects and deliver the required digital transformation in a faster and better way.

Capture everything in the cloud

Another reason for business leaders to adopt a digital platform is to enable the movement of key data and processes into a cloud-based environment. The data immediately becomes more secure for better data management while visibility and control around processes increases significantly.

The cloud environment is agile and responsive and digital platforms tend to feature a range of tools which can result in a lot more employee empowerment. These employees get to work faster with smart tools which help both their productivity and creativity to reach new levels that may not have been possible before the move to the platform.

Managing people, data and processes across disparate systems and various levels of software tends to prove ineffective and cumbersome in the long run. There are to many moving parts in play, and they tend not to be moving in the same direction. Consolidating these parts onto a unified digital platform can give a chief information officer the chance to create a picture of a working process that everybody can understand and participate in.

Future projects and company innovation has a better chance of success when the foundations have been laid by introducing a cloud based digital platform and putting key resources behind it to ensure the long-term success of digital adoption platforms.

Adopt and reap the value

If the CIO approaches a digital platform adoption from the perspective of business transformation, then there is significant opportunity to reap relatively quick rewards in the short term while also putting in place a process for long term business success.

Short and long-term rewards can be reaped in the following areas:

The goal is always to have measurable improvements with the implementation of a digital platform capable of meeting internal and external company needs. A CIO needs to invest in and commit to cloud platforms. This is about taking a leading role in the adoption of cloud platforms in order to streamline & optimize new technologies and drive innovation across the business.

Leadership initiative

The CIO can often play a leading role, but this person cannot do it alone, company buy-in at leadership level (cfo and c-suite) is required and support needs to be vocal and visible. If the adoption of cloud platforms is truly a new mindset and a case of a new key strategic business model, then the commitment to such as business strategy needs to be ongoing.

This is not simply about investment and funneling cash into digital channels – this is more about recognition of a continuous ongoing journey around digital initiatives of which cloud platforms have a major role to play in. Of course, the platform has to be monetized in a way that takes the business forward, so it is really everyone’s responsibility to see that the adoption of digital cloud platforms is taken seriously.

It should be a joint initiative at leadership level where is CIO and chief digital officer work with multiple stakeholders within the business to ensure that any digital platform is leveraged and optimized in a way that helps the multinational meet its business, technology, digitization and revenue targets.

The goal should be to adopt a tech-driven approach with a view to achieving some form of market differentiation that can result in significant innovation and transformational growth.


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