How to Create an Effective Non-CTO Playbook for Digital Transformation

According to IDC’s global IT spend guide back in mid-2020, the world, amidst pandemics and softening of economies, still showed considerable growth and continued digital transformation investments. Global spending on digital experience (DX) technologies and services is forecast to grow by 10.4% in 2020 to $1.3 trillion.

There’s no disputing that technology makes the world more efficient, works better, and keeps us connected. But understanding how and when to use the right technology solutions still demands specific expertise. That unique skill set and acumen usually lie with an organization’s CTO (Chief Tech Officer). Amongst top leadership teams within an organization, he/she may directly influence the decision, but most times, a working level of internal pitching may be necessary.

Robert Eve, Senior Director of Data Management Thought Leadership, TIBCO Software, detailed in his blog on how to sell the business on data virtualization back in 2020. He listed five critical steps on building a business case, and these apply to any digital transformation projects you wish to take on. George Westerman, MIT principal research scientist and author of Leading Digital: Turning Technology Into Business Transformation, also emphasized leadership buy-in. He illustrated that the CEO should lead digital transformation, in partnership with Chief Information Officers, Chief Human Resource Officers and other senior leaders, backed by strong cross-functional teamwork and collaboration, while maintaining both a commercial eye and rapid application development model (think AGILE) to hit the ground running.

To get into a fruitful conversation with any organization’s commercial leaders, I would start with identifying “WIIFM” for the stakeholders – What’s In It For Me.

At the heart of any organizational transformation is a shift in how value proposition, people, processes, and technologies are perceived. These are the lifeblood of the businesses, and they need to work together seamlessly.

The best way to convince any customer – internal or external – is to understand their pain points and develop a set of solutions that can address that. Be it through walking in your customers’ shoes or creating a set of requirements checklist to derive user insights; it’s about taking time to understand them.

Here are some examples of such pain points.

Pain point #1 (CRO/CRMO): How to avoid risks and address evolving compliance issues

Most organizations still view risk management as a “reactive” requirement, i.e. updating business rules and compliance processes whenever a new legislation or regulation (such as GDPR, BASEL) is underway. However, to truly manage risk and avoid costly compliance mistakes, a successful Chief Risk Officer has to manage risks proactively and with full transparency.

When crisis hits, there is often very little time for leaders to come to a decision and course of action; these are the times where having a robust data governance framework, coupled with solutions that provide real-time, advanced analytics can make a difference between minimal risk and billions of dollars in losses.

Paint point #2 (CMO): How do I keep my customers around, and keep them happy?

While the “Customer is Always Right”, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is the one tasked to know what is right for the customer. Hyper-personalization is one of the top marketing buzzwords since 2019, and yet, many CMOs struggle to execute with grace when customer data remains disparate.

Hyper-personalization uses machine learning or Artificial Intelligence (AI) and real-time data, to deliver the right content, product, service and offerings to customers at the right time. But in order to do this right, data quality needs to be pristine, real-time analytics need to drive actionable insights, and be integrated throughout the customer journey.

Developing your non-CTO playbook

As a TIBCO partner, we do this regularly with our customers and sometimes on their behalf to bring a business playbook and pitch back to their non-CTO counterparts. Often, we highlight examples of such pain points to start our conversation. TIBCO also provides partners with frameworks and access to solution demonstrations and technical experts to answer any related question during such cycles.

The first step, as illustrated, is to know your customers. This is equally important to understand your internal customers’ needs and set the right foundation for your solution build. Robert Eve also mentioned that one of the enemies to mastering MDM success is a lack of sufficient business engagement. Engage early and engage deeply. But how would you engage them? By bringing to them a narrative that resonates with them.

For example, if I speak to the CFO, I would prepare considerations around return-on-investment and the sustainability of longer-term returns. Support this with a customer reference of the relevant partners and vendors involved, and you would bring a compelling business narrative to your stakeholders. This approach would be coupled with a draft of action plans to bring it down to the operational level, if possible, with project implementation, dependencies, and timelines. The narrative is not just aspirational but provides key guideposts to project success.

Lastly, to be handy with experience and knowledge. Tony Beller, SVP, Worldwide Partners, and OEM Sales, said that “partnering with innovative providers with expertise across a range of business needs creates outstanding value.” This is especially true when you bring to the partnership a wealth of knowledge that is both broad and deep and a willingness to share. Our customers benefit when we partner with global leaders like TIBCO, who share extensive experience around specific industries such as financial services, manufacturing, and retail.

I hope that these steps have given you a better understanding of engaging your non-CTO counterparts in your journey to accelerated digital transformation. What are some of the ways you keep your non-CTO leadership involved in your digital transformation?