Leadership is back! Thoughts on digital transformation from down under

When you attend a Gartner Symposium, you expect to hear the latest technology trends and disruptors that may chart your IT course over the next few years. This year, the Gold Coast Gartner Symposium in Australia didn’t disappoint, with robots roaming the conference center halls, numerous sessions on artificial intelligence, blockchain and, of course, digital transformation.

But those were not the sessions I attended. Although I will admit, I tried to figure out if I could get a robot home in my luggage.

Results = credibility

While I love a good technology trends session, I found myself heading to those focused on leadership, a prominent theme at this year’s event. Many CIOs were featured, but one particular session discussed the path to being a digital business leader and the essential qualities that a CIO could bring to an organization. One of those qualities, credibility, seemed to be both obvious and insightful. The session emphasized that to lead a transformation, you needed credibility, i.e., a demonstrated ability to deliver results.

Much has been written about the struggles of CIOs, burdened with legacy systems, information silos, solution sprawl, security and other standards. This IT “baggage” makes it difficult for CIOs to move as quickly as business users would like. And the result is often business users purchasing their own solutions, perhaps without consulting the CIO, but still expecting support for the solution.

The result? Even more work, silos and solutions to support. Arguably, it creates greater potential to disappoint the organization.

Credibility = leadership

Enter leadership and the credibility question. The ability of a CIO to manage the enterprise and lead a digital transformation turns on the belief that she can deliver results. Results probably mean new solutions, a better user experience and modernization.

And the expectation is to do that within a budget and a predictable timeframe. Fail to deliver in these areas and your credibility – therefore your leadership – suffers.

It was useful to hear this attention to the concept of credibility, but how can you gain credibility or restore it? Leadership concepts are important, but when it comes to purchasing actual technology tools and solutions, what should you invest in? What IT investments can build your credibility?

Here are a few good places to start:

  • Rapid application development platforms

Rapid application development (RAD) goes directly to your ability to provide solutions faster. And providing that on a single platform gives you the opportunity to develop staff expertise in a single area that can also contribute to the speed to deploy.

  • Low-code platforms

Custom coded applications increase the time and cost of providing what your organization needs. And in the long-term, they can be difficult to update, upgrade and support. Low-code solutions offer configuration that is both quick and easier to change if you need to adapt or improve a solution.

  • Proven integration tools

Reducing the number of solutions to support doesn’t mean that you won’t want to connect data, processes and content that may reside in different department solutions. To accomplish that, you need to invest in platforms that offer a range of integration tools.

Like low-code platforms, integration tools don’t mean custom coded offerings that require time and can break when you upgrade or update. Like low-code platforms, integration tools can directly impact your ability to deliver lower cost solutions faster. And, good integrations mean that your users can access the information they need without worrying about what application they are using.

Leadership = success

Developing (or regaining) credibility that grows into leadership is harder than it sounds and certainly takes more time than the average conference session. Investing in technology and solutions that avoid custom code and scripted integrations can positively impact the time and budget needed to deliver solutions. Coupled with rapid application development, easier integration and low-code options mean that you can deliver solutions fasters, enhance them easier and update them when needed.

With the right investments, your ability to deliver results improves. That is at the heart of credibility. And, according to Gartner, it’s at the heart of the leadership your digital transformation needs.

Terri Jones

Terri Jones

Wondering what goes into a document management or ECM software deployment in government? Terri Jones, Hyland's government marketing portfolio manager, has your answer. In her 10 plus years in both state and local government, she's managed IT departments, implemented ECM strategies and written legislation and program policies. If that isn't enough to prove her IT expertise in government, she has also designed and implemented data systems and websites to manage compliance and funding in excess of $90 million annually. Have a question for her? Contact her at terri.jones@onbase.com.

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