Technology leaders – Primary strategy partner for C-suite

March 25, 2021 | David Daly 5 Mins read

Nobody would argue with the fact that technology is continuing to shape and define the business landscape -and as multinational organizations continue to push the envelope in terms of what is achievable with innovative digital technology, more and more members of senior business leadership teams are interested in having conversations with experienced technology leaders inside their organizations.

There is simply a recognition of the enormous potential of technology, particularly new technologies such as robotic process automation, artificial intelligence and innovative digital platforms with specialist integration features. No member of the C-Suite leadership team can afford to be in the dark about what is happening from a technology perspective- every person wants to be viewed as innovative and visionary – they want to be closely associated with the benefits that a new technology can bring to an organization – especially if these are related to carving out new revenue streams in new countries or territories.

The connection between technology and business expansion is clear, and it has become the case that technology is becoming a driver of business strategy instead of a feature of it. In this article, we will examine this new relationship that exists between technology figures in an organization and the C-Suite leadership team and look at what the implications are for future business practices.

Driving Strategy

In the past, it may have been a case that leadership teams sat down and decided on a particular strategy or direction, and then had subsequent conversations about what level of technology investment would be needed to make this strategy work in practice.

Such has been the rapid rise and development of innovative and influential technologies, that this kind of approach is no longer the case at many leading organizations around the world. Now, technology dictates the level of conversation -and crucially, it also dictates the strategic direction of the company. The discussion is more about what direction can we now take with the level of technology we currently have in place. Or the focus is on a major technology investment that can rapidly take the organization in a new direction – either way, technology is front and center of all conversations related to strategic direction.

This has created a new dynamic at C-Suite level-no member of the C-Suite wishes to appear uninformed or not up to date with the latest technology innovations. The result of this is that the primary strategy partner for many C-Suite executives, is now a senior technology figure or team within the organization. This is a significant, yet fully understandable shift in boardroom dynamics. If technology is to become the key driver of strategy, then it makes perfect sense that the person with the best grasp of technology and its potential, should have the full attention of individuals like the CEO and CFO.

Tech insight

C-Suite leadership teams and business leaders in general tend to recognize the value of engaging with stakeholders within their organization who have specific technical expertise. These people will likely be senior figures, possibly reporting into the CIO. They will likely have deep insight and a lot of understanding about the importance of investing early in technology innovations that can be genuinely transformational and shape business models.

By this, we mean innovative technology platforms or processes that truly transform the way a business-critical service was delivered in the past. Technology has the capacity to introduce speed, accuracy, flexibility and innovation all in one go. Automated processes in the delivery of global payroll are an example of this- by having something like robotic process automation introduced to global payroll delivery you immediately move away from slow and manual data inputs and towards high volume bulk inputs, with little or zero human touch- with strong accuracy and innovation coming in the form of a digitized audit trail that proves where the data came from and when.

Senior executives and board members are understandably very keen to get a handle on this kind of transformative process – and they will always want to speak to people who can paint a clearer picture for them of how such a digital transformation process could be a strategy driver for their organization. The ultimate goal is to introduce better internal processes which would allow them to deliver a more creative, and dynamic output in the form of an end user product. This is ultimately how market share is gained and how revenue increases.

Information for action

C-Suite leadership figures will look for technology insight that is actionable – there may therefore be a little bit of pressure on the senior technology leader or chief technology officers who is informing these key decision makers. This person may be placed in a slightly uncomfortable position of having his or her word become a major influence in the strategic direction taken by an organization.

It is about gaining a competitive edge and finding technology solutions that solve problems while also driving the business forward. If technology is the ultimate answer and the key catalyst to success, then the person who knows the most about such technology is now increasingly likely to find themselves sitting across from business leaders who will be asking some searching questions. Their know-how and competencies will appeal to top executives and the board of directors who understand the importance of informed decision-making.

They will be looking for information that they can act upon -they will also be assessing the validity of what this senior technology person has to say and how what they say can be backed up with data and use cases. A senior technology employee with many years of technology experience and a reputation for being able to describe technology in simple and concise terms is a person that could well find themselves strongly influencing strategic direction at multinational companies in 2021 and beyond.

Innovation

It is relevant to ask what kind of technology C-Suite leadership teams would be interested in? – this is a broad question but almost definitely, the word innovation will be repeated a lot. Innovation via technology is the opportunity that a business has to distinguish itself from its competitors and produce something original in the market. Innovation is something that will get the attention of end users and customers but also interested third parties such as the business media. Innovation by its nature is fresh, original and therefore newsworthy- those that leverage technology to bring innovative products and services to the market tend to have an interesting story to tell.

Key areas of future innovation that tech leaders will be called upon to provide insight and analysis into include:

All of these represent significant opportunities for companies to innovate and go in a new, exciting direction. Business leaders and organizations around the world will be keen to hear from there established technology professionals around which specific technology innovations are best suited to the needs and goals of the organization.

This is likely to be an ongoing discussion as technology innovation shows no signs of slowing down. For this reason, technology leaders are now establishing themselves as the primary partners chosen by C-Suite executives to assist them with core decision making around strategic direction.

 

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Using Payslip, we can manage all our payrolls across nine in-country vendors on one platform. When the global Covid-19 pandemic arose, it was not an issue from a payroll perspective, and critically getting everyone paid. The Payslip platform enabled continuity for our international payroll service including the fast and seamless implementation of the Payslip Employment Self Service during this time.

Colin Smith

Payroll Manager, LogMeIn

Payslip as a technology platform has added a missing piece in our payroll set-up. As an international company with offices in 16 countries, it’s important to us that every employee at GetYourGuide has the same great experience when accessing their pay data.

At the same time, we work well with smaller local payroll providers, supporting us with direct local expertise in their countries. We were able to combine those two elements by placing the Payslip platform in the middle, to simplify reporting and communication with local providers, and to have one simple employee-facing solution across all locations.

Julian Fichter

Head of HR, GetYourGuide

With business and employee growth rates of above 50%, we rely on our vendors to deliver on time, every time. Payslip’s workflow automation, enables Phorest to manage our payroll provider process – data driven, real time and transparent. Payslip saves us time so we can focus on our business growth.

Ana Kelly

International Payroll Manager, Phorest