Digital journey should be naturally pushed by CEO, CFO and CIO | TechRadar

Digital transformation has to flow in every part of the organization and should be naturally pushed by the CEO, CFO and CIO, an industry expert said.

Vijay Jaswal, Chief Technology Officer at Software AG for the Middle East and Turkey, told TechRadar Middle East that chief digital officer (CDO) is not needed as the flow has to be natural and from the top management.

“One thing which I don’t agree is a company having a CDO. There shouldn’t be a need for a CDO as the digital mindset has to flow through the CEO and CIO, and all the way down to PAs. It has to be in the culture or DNA of an organisation,” he said.

However, he said that CDOs will happen in companies that do one-off digital projects.

“For me, CDO is like a CIO. Most CIOs in the region are aware of the digital journey. Digital is mostly IT and software-led.

It [CDO] is becoming obsolete in Europe and the same will happen around the world,” he said.

It is all about the customer

(Image credit: Software AG)

“One thing which I don’t agree is a company having a CDO. There shouldn’t be a need for a CDO as the digital mindset has to flow through the CEO and CIO, and all the way down to PAs. It has to be in the company’s culture or DNA of an organisation.”

In the digital world, it is all about the customer, Jaswal said.

“We, as consumers, have all got smartphones and drop pins to get taxis and expect the taxis to come quickly. Whatever service we interact with, it has to be smart, simple, straight forward and fast. So, there is no question about it and organisations have to become digital,” he said.

Moreover, he said that organisations can achieve operational excellence as well as gain competitive advantage by blending people, processes and IT in an end-to-end enterprise business process management programme.

Digital transformation is in many facets, he said and added that it doesn’t matter how good your front end [app] is, if it takes five minutes to get information from the back end, it is not digital.

“Digital is to get the combination of both front- and back-end processes right and fast,” he said.

He said, for example, if people interact with a company and get good service, they tell their friends about it.

“There is the word of mouth and it is very powerful now, especially through social media. It is the best form of advertising rather than on TV or radio to boost revenue and attract more customers,” he said.

Digital transformation is a long journey

An organisation that has a mobile app is more digital than a company that doesn’t, he said and added that digital transformation is a long journey.

“To start a digital journey, the companies need to look at how much they are already digital. It all depends on where they are. But, regardless of where an organization is, it is all about planning.

We need to look at where the company is now and where it wants to get to and then plan the transformation journey,” he said.

Data will play a very key role

Jaswal said that many companies wanted to join the transformation journey but heavy legacy systems pose a big challenge to the journey.

Legacy systems can be old computer systems to application software or programming languages.

“Legacy system is a big issue and most companies have integrated their newer systems but left the legacy systems on their own. So, you have two silos of data. The legacy systems have to be brought into the party or they have to be modernised. The best way forward is to simplify and integrate the IT landscape,” he said.

Data will play a very key role, in terms of what the customer wants, not only now but also in the future, he added.


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