Five Key Investments to Drive Digital Transformation

StarCIO Smarter Faster
Heading back after summer breaks and most CIO are confronted with either developing, completing, and likely selling their 2017 budgets and plans. When it comes to digital transformation, many will think about plans for Big Data, IoT, AI, blockchain, and other business enabling technologies as core to 2017 plans. Some might be thinking about mobile payments, marketing automation, cloud migrations, digital customer experiences and other investments that improve products, services, capabilities, or efficiencies.

So let me suggest a few other digital transformation investments you may have overlooked. These are the less sexy investments that should underpin some of your more strategic initiatives.
  • Data quality and master data management - It's really hard to push Big Data, analytics, and BI programs when underlying data issues have limited attention or are not addressed. If you're trying to become a more data driven organization or leverage data in product development, investing in data stewardship practices which includes data quality and master data management is recommended.

  • Sales intelligence - If you're digital transformation includes delivering new products and strategic product enhancements (it should!), then you're going to want to track how existing sales channels, new sales channels, and changes in sales strategy impact selling new digital products versus incumbent products. Even if this can be accomplished with out of the box CRM reports (which is unlikely), you'll still want to put instituting sales intelligence on the strategic roadmap to drive training and process changing. 

  • Citizen development and citizen data science programs - Are your development resources stretched? Are you struggling to hire data scientists? Are you falling behind creating and updating enterprise applications in parallel to your strategic investments? Do you have millennials on staff that are capable of taking on more technically challenging work but need business and technical direction? If you answered yes to several of these questions, then you might want to look at sponsoring a citizen development program. See my previous right ups on practices for citizen development programs or how to kickoff a citizen data science program. Also, see InformationWeek's recent write up on my team on how one IT shop applies low code development practices.

  • Customer experience monitoring - As you're deploying more customer facing applications, you have to consider how to best monitor the end user experience and the health of the underlying systems. To best monitor systems for digital threats and issues, it's probably a good time to review technologies and approaches to threat monitoring, intrusion detection, and application level monitoring.

  • Workforce enablement - While many organizations have invested in tools for collaboration, enterprise mobility, unified communications, and agile project management there is still room to address other workforce enablement practices. Are you encouraging and measuring the shift off email to collaboration tools? Are you actively looking to reduce the number of hours in meetings? Are you measuring employee engagement in your innovation and portfolio management programs?

Another view through the Digital Lens to make your organization smarter and faster.

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About Isaac Sacolick

Isaac Sacolick is President of StarCIO, a technology leadership company that guides organizations on building digital transformation core competencies. He is the author of Digital Trailblazer and the Amazon bestseller Driving Digital and speaks about agile planning, devops, data science, product management, and other digital transformation best practices. Sacolick is a recognized top social CIO, a digital transformation influencer, and has over 900 articles published at InfoWorld,, his blog Social, Agile, and Transformation, and other sites. You can find him sharing new insights @NYIke on Twitter, his Driving Digital Standup YouTube channel, or during the Coffee with Digital Trailblazers.