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CEOs: The New Drivers of Digital Transformation

In this article appearing in, Thomas Siebel, chairman and CEO of C3 IoT says that the digital transformation we are currently facing, and the consequent disruption it will bring about is analogous to the discovery of fire, the emergence of agricultural techniques, and in more recent times, the Gutenberg printing press, the automobile, the microprocessor, and the Internet. Further, he goes on to add that this transformation is rather uniquely being driven from the top-down – personally mandated by CEOs.

Disruptive Technologies of the 21st Century

In the 21st century, the new disruptive technologies include big data, artificial intelligence (AI), elastic cloud computing (the cloud) and the Internet of Things (IoT). The smart grid presents a compelling example of these technologies at work in a harmonious and integrated way. As such, the benefits of these technologies will disrupt all value chains including, defense, education, financial services, government services, healthcare, manufacturing, oil and gas, retail, telecommunications and more.

CEOs: The Drivers of Change

The many tech adoption cycles in the recent past have seen innovations being introduced to the industry via the IT department. Then, after many trials and evaluations, the tech eventually earns the attention of the CIO, and the CEO was only then alerted to its cost and results.

However, with the 21st-century digital transformation, the adoption cycle is inverted. Now, almost invariably, the global corporate transformations are being initiated and propelled by the CEO. Visionary CEOs are the drivers of change, something that is unprecedented in the history of information technology.

Some farsighted CEOs have changed their play books. Isabelle Kocher, CEO of Engie, an integrated energy company based in Paris has put together a C-suite team tasked with transforming the company. Other CEOs are preparing for future disruption and asking themselves questions such as “what are our customers really buying, do they really need us, and could a digital competitor provide better insights or products at a lower cost?” These questions help them break out of their cloistered mindsets, reallocate resources accordingly, and chart the way forward. In addition, CEOs are recruiting for roles such as chief digital officer – who are armed with the authorization and resources to bring things to fruition.

Still some other CEOs are visiting HQs of disruption, such as Apple, Tesla and Uber for inspiration, and to refresh perspectives. What’s more, they’re also reaching across company and industry lines to share and promulgate best practices, as evinced by the Industre 4.0 in Germany, and the Industrial Internet Consortium.

While some CEOs are preparing for the digital transformation, many others aren’t quite doing enough. They should be talking about digital disruption all the time with their boards, in the C-suite, and mobilizing the whole company.

It’s clear that we are entering a highly-disruptive extinction event, and if the CEO isn’t talking about ensuring the survival of the company in the face of digital disruption, then he/she is the wrong person for the job.

Click on the following link to view the original article in full:

Sapna Hiremath

Sapna S Hiremath is currently working as a Content Specialist Lead for CAI Info India. With experiences of having worked for newspapers after pursuing a Master's in Mass Communication and Journalism, she has worked in the thriving fields of Search Engine Marketing, online shopping and healthcare. Being an avid traveler, she likes being in the serene landscapes of nature, but also likes being around friends.

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