We asked Fikile Sibiya, CIO of e4, what the barriers are to Digital Transformation and what CIOs can do to defeat them. Here is her response:
“Some of the real barriers include legacy systems, data incoherence, lack of organisational flexibility to change, lack of collaboration between business and technology teams, the inability to work across silos and sometimes a lack of integrated digital vision or blueprints in organisations.
Another barrier is the inability to effectively manage change at an enterprise level. The change management discipline is important to manage the challenges of the human impact of digitalisation. Digital Transformation is not an IT change, it is a business change and that change should be managed at the appropriate level.
Related to change management is the issue of poor visibility of the employee and client experience – users need some insight into how Digital Transformation impacts their experience and how that ties into their day-to-day performance and ultimately the performance of the organisation.
Finally, a key challenge to Digital Transformation is the skills gap in the digital sector and comprehensive understanding of next generation technologies. Organisations struggle to attract and retain the talent with the right skills that can set the direction for and execute on Digital Transformation.
How can CIOs overcome these?
CIOs need to find creative ways to get people excited about their Digital Transformation plans. Employees need to find the positive connection between their work and the transformation. IT cannot be the only sponsor of the transformation; it needs to be bought into by the rest of the executive team. CIOs need to pass the ownership of the transformation to the business stakeholders. The whole organisation needs to be integrated into the journey.
CIOs need to carefully evaluate an optimal approach of implementing a Digital Transformation stream alongside the existing legacy technology in a way that is not disruptive to business and does not contaminate the new platforms with old complexity. It is key to get the fundamental building blocks (such as data management) in place and align those with the transformation into digital.”