The IT Manager’s Transit Road Map to Chief Digital Officer

Ross MacKenzie

Why Change is The Name of The Game

Many IT Managers today find themselves in the role of Chief Digital Officer (CDO) – a role which poses significant challenges in an era where transformation is necessary to business survival. The stakes then are high.

For some the appointment may be a poisoned chalice, for others a long-awaited career break to be made the most of. Much depends on the CDO’s ability to undergo a drastic mindset change, pick up the gauntlet of challenge, become a collaborative partner and innovate like it’s going out of fashion.

The CDO’s role goes well beyond onboarding digital technologies and rolling out a few initiatives, it now involves steering a process of widespread change that touches on all aspects of the business and ensuring it’s fit for purpose in the new, consumer-driven, digital age.

The CDO is now a necessity in the changing environment of the Arabian Gulf which is rapidly waving goodbye to the days of non-regulation and bidding a swift welcome to a regulated era where consumer power, and competitiveness, are reaching heights never achieved before.

The marketplace has changed – it’s digitally driven and there are loads of new ways to reach and service your customers and they expect you to keep up!

The marketplace is also demanding change to recruit and retain top talent who are now so sought after that they are specifying their own wish lists of employment conditions – flexible workplaces being one of them.

Here Cobweb, with its extensive experience of having helped more than 6,000 businesses of all sizes start their digital transformation with a move to the cloud, offers a seven-step road map to help IT managers begin their own digital transition. 

Step 1: Review, recognize and foresee new marketplace dynamics

Long-held modes of doing business are being disrupted and the successful CDO will recognize this, foresee more disruption, and be prepared to listen to ideas, innovate, integrate and create with a digital mind-set.

The first step would be to review internal business processes, and the mindset of the team, their ability to adapt to change, adopt new digital technologies and the businesses potential requirements for the next three- to four-years. Comprehensive evaluation now, makes for more considered decisions later, which will help businesses to modernize IT for the digital economy. The following questions should inform the review:

How should we change our business processes to stay relevant in the digital economy? 

Should we buy a CRM solution will it help increase our sales pipeline?

Should we embrace digital marketing to reach new prospects and stay in touch with current customers?

Would a properly managed helpdesk improve our client servicing, and will it help transform the product and services we deliver to the modern consumer?

Do we need a field service component?

Step 2: Embed digital into strategy

Because digital is a whole new modus operandi for business, it’s a force that must be integrated into every facet of the business. It’s a strategic tool which will impact the way you engage with customers, employees, stakeholders and the marketplace and so involves everyone from customer service to marketing, from finance to fulfillment.  

So digital must be embodied into the organization’s strategic planning process and that means the CDO must become a strategic player ready to dive deep into all processes and market trends and drill down into upcoming technology trends and how they will impact customer and employee behavior. With these vital insights, the time is ready to innovate for survival.

Step 3: Get All-Round Buy-in For Your Vision

Once you’ve got your strategy, with digital as its growth engine, ensure you get the buy-in of everyone in the business – from the sales people, to the guys who issue invoices, those who deliver product, the front-facing customer service people even your HR team.

With 360 degree buy-in you’ll all be on the same page and ensure that together you will add value. You need the full support of all business units who will need to share the vision and embrace digital advancements and indeed the ‘coming together’ will inspire a group approach. 

Step 4: Become Anal About Analytics

The new business world means we must better target our customer, shape our offering to individual desires and to do that we need to know precisely what our customers want, when they want it and how they go about buying. This is where data becomes the ignition. With data opportunities will present themselves – so will evidence of where effort and resources are being wasted. You will better fine tune your processes, sales, marketing, product development and delivery points through data analysis accumulated through digital systems.


Step 5: Factor In Compliance

In the new Gulf business environment aids to compliancy must factor into strategy and choice of outsourced partner. There’s no reason to have to buy in individual solutions with little commonality when a specifically tailored solution, such as Cobweb CompleteFinance is available.

This cloud-based accounting solution, built around the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform, incorporates a financial add-on module, available only through Cobweb which has the functionality to enable businesses to become VAT and tax compliant. And, there’s no minimum Dynamics licence requirement – whereas, Microsoft stipulates a minimum purchase of 20.

Step 6: Look For Solid & Safe Partners

Digitalization and moving to the cloud sees many companies, for the first time, look for managed outsourced suppliers to free up their own inhouse IT resources to keep on innovating. Moving to the cloud also allows you to shift IT spend, on servers and their maintenance for instance, from capex to opex. You can now opt for monthly, subscription and cloud-based solutions, such as Cobweb CompleteFinance, making budgeting more transparent and agile.  

But choosing an outsource partner must be as strategic a decision as anything else. IT resources must align with the overarching strategy. You also need a partner who can onboard systems that provide C-suite peace of mind in terms of security.

Cobweb’s solutions are bundled with Microsoft Office 365 which ensures that businesses, large or small, benefit from a range of security layers and comes with a free backup and recovery service. Data is continuously backed up and saved in multiple locations around Microsoft’s network. So, if a file is accidentally deleted, it can be restored quickly and easily with just a few clicks of a mouse. Office 365 also effectively creates a disaster recovery solution. If your business is hit by fire or any other natural disaster, you can carry on working with files on Office 365 on a device of your choice, no matter where you are.

Your data is safe in the Microsoft Office 365 data center and is automatically copied to other data centers in your area. So, even if the Microsoft data center is affected, there’s another copy waiting for you in a second location. And your data will also be stored for up to 90 days after your subscription ends giving you time to migrate to a new platform if you choose to. And with an Office 365 account, you have automatic access to Office 365’s world-class security experts anytime, anywhere.

As going digital will involve embracing cloud solutions, it makes sense to opt for a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partner, such as Cobweb Solutions, because of the unrivalled advantages they bring. You can feel safe knowing Microsoft has validated the knowledge, performance and reliability of the partners who commit to providing the very highest level of support and service.

Trust, reliability, outstanding service and support quality are just a few of the benefits of choosing a Microsoft CSP partner. There are others, including worry-free cloud migration. You can rest assured that a CSP partner won’t just sell you a license and then leave you to your own resources. CSP partners provide professional services across the entire migration journey ensuring you get smooth, worry-free transition

Step 7: Take Advice:

If you’re moving into a digitally focused role and want to know more about transitioning to the new digital economy, call us now for advice: Our Cloud Consultants will be happy to help.


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