There’s one simple statement that the business world must come to terms with to succeed in any industry— “Every business is a digital business.”

If you liked this article, listen to guests Scott Harper, Dialexa’s co-founder and CEO, and Chris Garrick, Sr Partner here at Dialexa, on Custom Made, where we discuss how to drive innovation within an enterprise organization:Listen to all episodes of Custom Made for insights and perspectives from industry disruptors and technology leaders.

Digital transformation is causing disruption in all industries and every company is vulnerable, regardless of how established they might be in the market. Consider what happened to Blockbuster. Once the top video rental chain in the United States, Blockbuster was quickly dethroned by a slew of digital streaming and rental services led by Netflix. It happened to Blockbuster, it’s happening to taxi companies as Uber rises, and it could happen to you.

While it might be easiest to push your IT department to spark a digital transformation in your company, executives must get behind the idea that every business is a digital business if they want to adapt to shifts in their markets. Digital transformations aren’t just for IT to lead—they require buy-in from every department with direct leadership from the C-suite level.

Customer-Centric Transformation Is Essential

One key distinction between an IT-led digital transformation and a CMO- or CIO-led digital transformation is the focus on consumer needs. It’s becoming increasingly challenging for product development teams to innovate and find white space in the market. Because IT departments don’t have direct connections to consumers, they are out of touch with customer needs and ultimately will not lead the most successful digital transformations.

Download the Pillars of a Successful Digital Transformation Strategy White Paper Your digital transformation champion should be a person with a close relationship with your customers—preferably at the C-suite level. Having an executive with consumer needs at heart lead your digital transformation helps ensure your innovative projects stay on track to make an impact in the market.

However, simply appointing an executive champion isn’t enough. The executive champion must inspire buy-in from the whole company to create a task force that supports a holistic digital transformation. 

The Roles of 6 Key Departments in a Digital Transformation

One executive champion can spark holistic buy-in; but each individual department needs a leader who can guide a digital transformation in the right direction. When adapting to digitization, there are six key departments that require leaders who buy into the transformation, including:

  • The IT Department: While your IT department could potentially lead the entire digital transformation, it’s not as necessary as you might expect. Instead, you should lean on IT teams to find ways to cannibalize your current business and push the organization for new digital products.

  • Marketing: Marketing teams aren’t creating innovative digital products; but they must play a central role in your digital transformation. From new product introductions to pricing and positioning, the marketing department helps ensure you gain a foothold in your new digital space.

  • Legal Department: Your new digital innovations won’t be of much value if competitors are free to hijack your ideas. The legal department must understand the innovations and intellectual property to protect your new developments.

  • Procurement: If you’re in an industry that’s accustomed to making strategic partnerships and working with massive vendors that take months to come to agreements, procurement must change. For digital transformation to work, you must be able to work with smaller vendors to enable agility in new markets. 

  • The Supply Chain: Digital transformation means you must launch products faster. When your supply chain leader can guide you towards flexibility in the supply, you can support iterative cycles that improve time-to-market for new products.

  • The Finance Department: Digital transformation requires an intimate understanding of the “I” in ROI. When your finance department buys into your digital transformation, you can value your innovation investments more effectively and ultimately see more successful projects.

Some sections of your organizations will be more crucial to your digital transformation success than others—for example, the success or failure of a new product could come down entirely to your marketing department. However, that doesn’t mean total company buy-in isn’t important.

For executives looking to become the digital transformation champion that sparks holistic buy-in, success lies in a clear and effective plan. In our latest free white paper, The Pillars of a Successful Digital Transformation Strategy, we cover the 7 essential parts of a digital transformation process. Download the white paper now to discover the framework of a digital transformation strategy.

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