How Adaptive Sourcing and Digital Transformation Will Put You In The Winner’s … – Forbes

The realities of digital business put most companies on their heels. Few are ready for the technology and business shifts that will define the next generation of market leaders. New technologies–from social to mobile to cloud to digital to analytics–now help answer business questions. However, an enterprise needs the correct amount of human stewardship and IT sourcing to seize the ring that digital business represents.

Martin Gill, VP Principal Analysis at Forrester, recently wrote an article that deserves attention: Why Most Digital Transformations Will Fail (And How To Make Sure Yours Doesn’t). I am more optimistic than Gill.

Gill notes that digital leadership is no longer just about the CEO. One-third of CEOs told Forrester that they previously set digital strategy — a serious misuse of their time and resources. Meanwhile, only 21% of executives say that their CEO sets a clear strategy that focuses on customers. There’s a serious disconnect there. However, this speaks to flawed execution, not misguided strategy.

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Let’s take a closer look.

CEOs realize their shortcomings and look increasingly to their CIOs for solutions. According to The Economist, 75% of CEOs want their CIOs to play advisory business strategy roles in the C-suite. IT alone is just table stakes. Moreover, economic performance for organizations whose CIOs were part of overall development strategy outpace their competition by 2:1. CIOs are in the position to understand best what, where, and how new technology can accelerate strategic innovation. For the CIO, this transition from IT to business strategy not only helps drive digital transformation, but can also make his career.

Let’s consider a real-life sourcing example. Imagine an executive in a medium-sized midwestern city (i.e. not in a technology belt). He has been charged with spearheading a project that requires a healthy number of iOS developers. Locally, that particular skill is rare; supply does not even approximate the demand for this particular project alone. In years past, that executive had various options. He could move forward with limited supply and obtain a sub-par result. He could outsource the project abroad and hope the talent really exists. He could go through the time-consuming (and profit-eating) motions of finding an iOS shop. None of those options is viable in today’s business world. Martin Gill suggests that a new way is needed, including open innovation, to move forward the project quickly, cheaply, and with outstanding results.

Crowdsourcing has allowed enterprises to tap into millions of expert data scientists, developers, and designers worldwide to solve issues ranging from building CRM applications that allow established, non-technology-based companies to fundamentally change the way they work with their customers to changing the way in which Harvard Medical School conceives of its research in immunogenomics — a world-class shift.

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