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Over the past five years, digital transformation has grown from a niche approach to buzzword bingo. The ongoing focus on ever-faster innovation leads to faster and more cost-effective operations, and it allows organisations to improve their compliance. But most importantly, it is improving staff and customer experience. With that in mind, it is something the board should pay specific attention to.

What is digital transformation?

It used to be a website or an app. Today it covers the entirety of the organisation. According to George Westerman author of Leading Digital: Turning Technology Into Business Transformation in CIO magazine.

“Digital transformation is radically rethinking how an organisation uses technology, people and processes to change business performance fundamentally.”

That definition clearly shows that it is not just about technology. It is also not focussing the effort on one specific function of an organisation like marketing, HR or finance. It includes the whole organisation, and it’s stakeholders.

What to expect from your board.

With its central governing role, the board should fully embrace a digital transformation strategy. For that to be the case, several aspects are required:

  1. The board should understand technology and how it can contribute.
  2. Acceptance by the board that digital transformation is innovative and by that nature, not a “cookie-cutter”.
  3. A suitable risk appetite, given innovative behaviour, isn’t true and tested.
  4. A board that start it’s own journey and embraces technology.
  5. A full-board shared responsibility not just one dedicated director or a committee. However, that is an excellent way to start your board’s digital transformation.

There is no way back

The digital transformation of our society is no longer an if question. Digital touches every aspect of our lives these days. Your organisation just as much. Acceptance of it in your organisation needs to trickle through as well. Boards that proactively push the transformation agenda create companies that will thrive in the future. Those that don’t will fail. If not today, then probably tomorrow.