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See your world in digital

Digital doesn’t sit still, so neither can your business.

To thrive in today’s ever-changing digital world, digital transformation is imperative. But there are many ways to do it. The one constant is your role, as CEO and the need for your direct involvement.

Digital doesn’t sit still, so neither can your business. To thrive in today’s ever-changing digital world, digital transformation is imperative. But there are many ways to do it. The one constant is your role, as CEO, and the need for your direct involvement.

Put simply, you can no longer afford to maintain the status quo. You need to be ready to take risks; be constantly on the lookout for disruptive patterns; and be willing to set a transformative, digital vision that enables you to capitalise on opportunities, counter any threat and maximise value. Transformation must come from the top.

The question is, how? As a CEO, how do you determine your exact role in digital transformation? And where should you focus your finite time and energy to best help your company succeed on its digital journey?

Deloitte's recent research on How the CEO’s leadership in digital transformation can tip the scales toward success and How to lead digital transformation from the top helps answer these questions and more. Based on real-world scenarios and powerful insights from global CEOs, the series are practical, research-driven guides for business leaders facing the challenge of transforming their organisations through digital technology. Centred on setting your ambition and assessing organisational readiness, they will help you see your world in digital and transform transformation.

The five levels of digital transformation

Digital transformations come in all shapes and sizes. CEOs must adapt their leadership focus to suit.

Data / Process changes

  • Same business model
  • Same capability
  • Same market
  • Digitisation of some existing internal data and operating processes
  • Incremental cost or operational improvement

Platform changes

  • New digital platforms
  • Same business model
  • Same capability
  • Same market
  • Radical digitisation of processes and / or platform
  • Revenue generation alongside radical cost / efficiency improvements

Market changes

  • Same business model
  • Same capability
  • New market or channel
  • Similar operating model (eases change)

Product changes

  • Same business model
  • New capability resulting in new product/service offering
  • Same market

Business model changes

  • New business model
  • New, innovative capability resulting in products or services that disrupt and transform industry standard
  • Likely to involve ecosystem model
  • New KPIs likely to be needed

The five levels build incrementally. The more a CEO’s business encompasses, the more likely it will need enterprise-wide transformation, including a new operating model and organisational structure.

CEOs can use these levels to help set the organisational ambition and assess its readiness for change based on the Leadership, Structure, Culture and Capabilities in place already. The initial research details four scenarios to guide CEOs on this journey and goes on to demonstrate three specific actions they’re taking to lead from the top.

Read more on setting the transformation ambition for your organisation.

The three truths

A practical guide for leaders facing the challenge of transforming their organisations through digital technology

Your role as leader is crucial to any digital ambition, no matter the scale.

  • Break through roadblocks
  • Help others see the bigger picture
  • Assign full-time ownership but keep your hands on the wheel

As the digital vision gets more ambitious, you must get more involved, especially if your company isn’t ready to change.

  • Tell a compelling story
  • Align objectives with digital transformation
  • Address weaknesses exposed by the digital journey and be ready to accept short-term pain for long-term gain
  • Enable the company to take digital transformation in multiple directions in the future
  • Think beyond your tenure and plan for the future

Digitally-savvy companies still need leadership to lead on strategy, innovation and growth.

  • Continue to nurture innovation, even if your company is digitally native.
  • Constantly assess the market for opportunities and don’t be afraid to look well into the future.

Read more on our three truths and insights from our CEO interviews.

CEO Talks

We spoke to over 20 Global CEOs about their digital transformation journeys and how they lead from the top.

Artists and songwriters are important partners in light of our purpose of filling the world with emotions, so we are trying to become the best company for them. For example, we are providing a digital platform to inform them how much they're gaining from their online music in real time.

Kenichiro Yoshida, CEO, Sony Group

I can strongly recommend to set up a dedicated transformation office to track the progress of the various key strategic projects you need to drive simultaneously within a transformation of this size.

Giny Boer, CEO, C&A

"In terms of day-to-day, did I “do” anything? Probably not. My role was to simply not let the organisation back up, to continue to pump the vision of where we needed to be. And if anyone presented a roadblock, I told them to go under, over, through, around, any way to make it happen."

J Eric Pike, Chairman and CEO, Pike Corporation

Digital transformation is a full-time job, so you need people to work on it full time. You can’t just ask someone to do it on the side. Without that dedicated focus, people’s day-to-day jobs tend to take priority and the digitisation effort struggles to make progress.

Marc Huffman, CEO, BlackLine

One of the biggest things we did was to establish a long-term incentive plan for our senior executives. We tied a third of their money to the success of this work, so they all had an economic incentive. If the project goes well, we all win. If the project goes bad, we all lose.

Stephen Markovich, CEO, Ohio Health

Our core works very well, so I spend my time gazing at the periphery. We hired field marshals who can grasp what customers are struggling with, curious leaders keeping an eye on the periphery and building a nuanced vision for how we are moving ahead, how our customers are evolving and figuring out the software and ecosystems.

Vincent Roche, CEO, Analog Devices

How we can help

To navigate the future with confidence, organisations need to make and act upon the right choices: clear, timely and inspirational choices that deliver growth in a dynamic, disrupted world.

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