7 steps to becoming a digitally determined enterprise

By Espie Angelica A. de Leon

During the IDC CIO Summit 2019 at the Shangri-la at the Fort on April 4,  IDC Philippines head of operations Randy Roberts said that majority of Filipino enterprises remain digitally distraught, based on a recent study conducted by the market intelligence provider.

Carlos Santos,  group chief information officer (CIO) of JG Summit Holdings and CIO of Universal Robina Corporation, at the IDC CIO Summit 2019

However, almost 50% of them are now in the third phase of being digitally distraught, one step away from the fourth phase. Reaching the fourth phase means they are already digitally determined companies.

Too add to the good news, the percentage of companies in the Philippines now in the third phase is higher than the percentage of companies in the same phase within the entire Asia Pacific region.

Roberts described digitally distraught companies as those whose digital transformation initiatives are tactical and either have weak or no connection at all to their enterprise strategy. They are also initiated at the functional level  and have short-term focus.

In contrast, digitally determined companies are those whose digital transformation efforts are integrated, continuous, and rolled out across the enterprise. These initiatives are used as part of their enterprise strategy to transform markets and customers.

How should digitally distraught enterprises make that jump to being digitally determined?

Carlos Santos, group chief information officer (CIO) of JG Summit Holdings and CIO of Universal Robina Corporation, suggests these seven steps during his talk at the summit titled “How To be Digitally Determined Versus Digitally Distraught.”

1. Executive Sponsorship

“The first thing you have to look at is to make sure you have the proper support from your leadership,” said Santos, adding that this is actually the biggest challenge.

2. Transformation

Santos reminded CIOs and IT personnel to focus on transforming the work process. “Digital is the way to transform, not the other way around,” he explained.

3. Value 

“As IT people,  you now have to be IT finance people,” he said. “Talk the language of value, talk about value to get into the door.”

4. Structure

The intent here, Santos revealed, is for the company to eventually become a data-driven one. To achieve this, he suggested looking into four components namely employees, customers, internal operations, and consumers and everything connected with each component including systems, websites, and apps.

In the middle of these components is analytics. “Everything is brought about by analytics. At the end of the day, what do you wanna do? Analyze it. Monetize it. Sell it,” said Santos.

5. Enterprise

“For those identified key enablers to make digital transformation faster, I make choices with enterprise.”

Among others, JG Summit has an ERP platform and a cloud-based platform for all of  its workplace. Santos has also decided to scale its sales area. But he also allows best of breed software solutions for the other applications.

“You cannot enterprise everything. Once you start enterprising everything,” he claimed, “you lose flexibility, you lose speed, you lose agility.”

6. Execution

“All of us need people who can think and can also execute,” he said. “If you cannot execute any project or initiative, it’s useless.”

Execution should therefore be given focus, bearing in mind the company’s key performance indicators and making sure that workers have the right skill sets. According to Santos, the problem in the Philippines is that it is hard to get people who are both technically adept and have the ability to execute.

7. Recognition 

In order to cross from being a digitally distraught enterprise to a digitally determined one, organizations should also be able to recognize and reward people for their execution of a project. They should make this kind of recognition a part of their corporate culture.

Santos shared that JG Summit has added a new award for employees, dubbed the Digital Transformation Award.

Despite the high number of companies in the country that are now a step away from being digitally determined, Roberts maintained that it is actually the most difficult move, and that is a global reality.

“In step 3, you’ve been able to repeat internally some successes around digital transformation, you have projects across the company. But the difficult part now is making that a core part of your strategy to the point where you now are quickly innovating, quickly launching new products and services, disrupting your competition, doing things faster than they are,” said Roberts,  “that’s the big jump from 3 to 4.”

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