why digital transformation is now on the ceo's shoulders - and on your other execs, too

Why it’s Said that Digital Transformation Falls on the CEO’s Shoulders, and Why No Exec Should Muscle the Initiative on their Own

Spending on digital transformation technology will surge to $2 trillion by 2020. And, for every $1 billion invested in new technology, $112 million is lost to projects that fail.

That means by 2020, companies across the globe will waste a collective $224 billion on failed technology transformations.

Legacy technology shackles you to outdated processes, low productivity, wasted time, and unthinkable costs.

Failing at transformation can be equally draining.

That’s why in recent years, digital transformation has fallen to CEOs.

Directors and managers are in a unique position. You act as a bridge for word to travel from frontline employees to executives. You’re crucial to make successful changes in your contact center and your company.

But, you can’t lead the charge alone.

It takes top-level buy-in and a sound investment to change your processes, technology, and the way you work. Without executive sponsorship, your projects will never get off the ground.

Here’s why digital transformation is now on the CEO’s shoulders.

A company’s financial well-being and future viability are at stake during your digital transformation.

When investments don’t start at the top, decisions get siloed. Silos cause piecemeal-ed systems and disjointed processes, toppling transformation efforts.

A company’s CEO is privy to the 100-foot view of how the business works. They’re an influencer to the executive team. And they have the ear of board members who often approve large-scale decisions and investments.

But that 100-foot view doesn’t give them the intimate details. They lack the frontline knowledge they need for successful change. That’s where you come in.

But successful transformation can’t happen when backed by your CEO, alone.

While digital transformation efforts must start at the top, taking on company-wide change is a heavy-weight effort no single executive can shoulder on their own.

And those who do try to drag the weight alone, crush under pressure.

Poor project coordination and communication is behind 80% of project failures. Not to mention, only 3% of transformations succeed without input from frontline managers and employees.

That means the less you consult with other departments, the higher your risk of failure.

Companies succeed when their exec teams use their individual roles to strategically shape the business.

Upheaving your company processes, tech stack, and policies will only create confusion without buy-in from execs in every department.

To avoid the chaos, we’re sharing the unique role you and your executives play in digital transformation.

Learn the roles your executives can play (and how you can fit into the mix.) Then, share important findings with your VPs and operations leaders. The more knowledge about digital transformation, the better the outcome for your contact center and your company.

The CEO: Seeing from a unique vantage point

The CEO has the ultimate vantage point for cross-functional work. They know the goals, functions, and outputs of each department. And, they’re connected to all the other C-Suiters.

Every major project comes across their desk for a signature, and your company’s digital transformation efforts are no different.

Here, they play a supporting role.

A CEO’s co-execs will task their teams with finding new technology. And, these other C-Suiters will play a strategic role in rewriting processes, setting operational goals, and implementing any new tech.

CEOs should ask the tough questions to make sure the strategy and new processes align with your company’s long-term mission and vision.

“Visionary CEOs, individually, are the engines of massive change that is unprecedented in the history of information technology—possibly unprecedented in the history of commerce.” – Thomas M. Siebel for McKinsey & Company

Once they have complete alignment with other company leaders, they can get buy-in from the board.

Setting a company up for sustainable growth and overhauling the way everyone works is no easy feat. They’ll need a compelling story for change, a strategy, and the support of advisors and company stakeholders to move forward.

“The threat is existential. For boards, if this isn’t on your agenda, then you’ve got the wrong agenda. If your CEO isn’t talking about how to ensure the survival of the enterprise amid digital disruption, well, maybe you’ve got the wrong person in the job. This may sound extreme, but it’s not,” Siebel said.

For the CEO, it’s important to present the story, outline transformation goals, and show the expected ROI to get buy-in all around. And to build out their story for change, they’ll need help and suggestions from the frontline.

The CIO: Offering subject matter expertise

Companies falling behind in digital transformation are being crushed by technical debt and monolithic systems.

More than 60 percent of senior IT pros think their CIOs are too busy maintaining current systems to create new solutions. When more than half of an executive’s time is dedicated to keeping the status quo, your company’s not progressing at a sustainable pace.

To get rid of the baggage that comes with outdated tech, CIOs are taking more authority in digital transformation efforts. In 2019, 25% of CIOs plan to take the reins in transformative projects.

Technology is taking center stage as a vehicle to reach company-wide goals. And, 95% of CIOs claim cybersecurity threats will only get worse. With these initiatives at the top of priority lists, CIOs will take on a more strategic role. They have the detailed knowledge needed to scope out scalable, secure platforms and raise their company’s digital IQ.

They’re the subject matter experts when it comes to digitalization across your company and contact center. They know what systems you have, which ones bring pain, and which platforms don’t play well together.

They can use this knowledge to spur urgency for company-wide digital transformation. It’s their job to convince the other C-Suiters that digitalization is the catalyst for a better customer experience. And, it’s the only way to meet business objectives.

For CIOs, it’s crucial to share a company’s technology story and hard facts with a company’s board, too. CIOs can work with contact center managers and other leaders (like you) to identify pain points in processes and technologies. Then, they can merge those facts with what they hear from other departments.

Offering this expertise serves to support a CEO’s story for change and give the detail and technical perspective board members need to see to drive efforts forward.

The COO:  Bringing cohesivity and closing gaps

Nearly two-thirds of C-Suite execs, 62%, have set KPIs for their transformation efforts without understanding the gaps in their business, first.

COOs bridge how a company runs and how leaders work together to meet long-term goals.

When the CIO brings new tools and technical initiatives to the board room, COOs check them against your corporate ecosystem.

Adding an incredible tool to the mix might be the best medicine for a low productivity plague. But how will it fit with your contact center’s current policies and processes? And how will it help everyone reach operational and customer experience goals?

The COOs role in digital transformation is making sure the old and the new blend together to benefit all company stakeholders.

They bring visibility to your current operational structure. And, they show other executives where inefficiencies live. Some 65% of executives would feel more confident in their transformation strategy if they had better visibility into how their business runs.

COOs build the trust and confidence your exec team needs to run full speed ahead. And, they do it with your input. Like your CEO, your COO gets a deeper look at several departments. They head up contact center initiatives and business operations. They get direct input from their VPs who hear more from managers and frontline employees.

COOs gather a wealth of knowledge on important details that impact revenue, productivity, and employees. And they’re listening to you, your agents, and your customers.

The CFO: Approving and forecasting for better investments

Business investments come with strings attached. Companies are stuck in a constant battle for what new project or initiative will bring the most ROI.

At the same time, they’re tasked with thinking long-term. One investment might be low-risk and bring quick dividends. While another has serious up-front costs but massive returns.

Digital transformation falls in the latter category.

When budgets are tight, key executives have to make tradeoffs and prioritize.

That’s where the CFO comes in. With tons of transformation efforts toppling and over $900 million wasted on efforts in 2018 alone, this executive’s oversight is mission-critical.

CFOs can prevent decision fatigue with your leaders by stepping in to vet out the no-go tools right away. When they’re diligent with budget forecasting and updates to your exec team, you and your fellow operational leaders can evaluate new technology with a number in mind.

The payout from a successful digital transformation comes in the form of more than just extra dollar signs in a company’s bank account. Especially in the contact center. It’s the center of your customer experience.  Transformation is crucial to your long-term viability and customer’s happiness.

Need more facts to share with your boss and exec team as a show of support for their transformation efforts? Here are 9 digital transformation statistics out of Forrester to build a case for lasting change.