Digital technologies are evolving rapidly, and the companies that are the most creative and agile in exploiting the possibilities of new technologies will gain strategic advantage over competitors.
New technologies can pave the way to the development of new business models, as was the case with the Nordic unicorns Spotify and Skype. Companies can also leverage technology to reduce costs through operational efficiency, serve customers better with enhanced products or services and act faster on information.
In practice, by interviewing 300 executives from a wide variety of industries across Finland, Sweden and Norway, Tieto found that “technology incites immediate change in 70% of Nordic organizations”.
The popular answer to these questions over the last few years has been to set up Digital Transformation initiatives. Propelled by the general enthusiasm for digitalization, many of these programmes have been launched with much fanfare. While some of these undertakings have been truly successful, others have not delivered the expected results (yet?) or have only been half-heartedly executed.
To put it simply, all aspects of the Corporate Strategy should be re-examined with digital considerations. In other words, for a relevant and impactful Digital Transformation, business leaders should, as part of the strategy review process, evaluate the potential of new technologies for their industry and its implications for the business logic of the company. This process results in a thorough reflection on the impact of digital technologies over each aspect of the Corporate Strategy:
Through a rigorous evaluation of technology in relation to the industry and the company core, business leaders become better prepared to derive the insights needed to drive impactful changes to compete in the digital economy.
To develop a Corporate Strategy through the lens of technology, business leaders need technology acumen.
This is a marked evolution from the time when as a young engineer I enrolled in an MBA programme to develop business acumen. And that was not long after working for an executive who was still getting his emails printed on paper by his administrative assistant. Nowadays, a good understanding of technology is essential for business leaders of many (most?) sectors.
To thoroughly assess the potential of technology, business leaders need to engage with tech-savvy people and educate themselves on key technologies for their industry.
Some of the technologies most often cited for their high disruptive potential are:
Our present times have been called the Second Machine Age to emphasize the phenomenal contribution of technology to our societies, in not only replacing muscle power but also mental work. In this era, a successful digital transformation is rooted in the corporate strategy review process – the strategy must be revisited through the technology lens.
To that effect, technology acumen is essential for business leaders to reflect on where the industry is headed and to successfully design the role their company will play in the increasingly digital future.
Marie-Josée Leblond is Head of Digital Experience - CIO Office at Tieto. She has 25 years of experience working in the IT and Telecom industry in senior leadership positions. Marie-Josée has led teams in America, Europe and Asia.
Marie-Josée is passionate about delivering business results by leveraging digital technology to transform organizations.
Marie-Josée holds an MBA in IT Management and a B. Eng. in Electrical Engineering.