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By Fred Isbell, senior director and head of Thought Leadership – Digital Business Services Marketing, SAP

Digital transformation is testing executive leaders across the C-suite – and chief information officers (CIOs) and their IT teams sit squarely in the middle. The adoption of new business models, re-engineered business processes, and technology innovations bring new challenges to IT organizations while they keep systems up and running without disruption.

It was my pleasure to recently host the latest of our Digital Business Marketing Thought Leadership Webcasts, “IT Leadership for the Next Phase of Digital Transformation.” Three insightful subject-matter experts from the Economist Intelligence Unit, the Americas SAP User Group (ASUG), and SAP highlighted three fundamental best practices every CIO and IT member should consider on their digital transformation journey.

  1. Catalyze collaboration across the enterprise

Pete Swabey, senior editor of the EMEA and Global Lead Technology Sector at Economist Intelligence Unit, shared the results of recent research sponsored by SAP, “Digitizing IT: IT Leadership for the Next Phase of Digital Transformation,” which revealed the IT challenges of innovation. Key challenges included the classic “too much to do” mentality, the degree of attention CIOs should give their IT teams, and the state of readiness and maturity necessary to deliver a successful initiative. Based on the study’s findings, Swabey advised IT organization to engage in new forms of cross-functional collaboration and facilitate collaboration across the organization to ensure successful digital transformation.

  1. Build flexibility and scalability into the digital strategy

Peter Russo, global vice president of SAP S/4HANA Product Marketing, gave some great and timely insights on the successful creation of the digital core as the foundation for successful digital transformation. Having addressed the need for simplification at multiple levels, Russo explained the need for increased agility. Because it is difficult to know exactly where digital transformation will take them, organization require the flexibility and scalability of a platform that allows them to address any scenario that may come their way.

  1. Acknowledge that disruption happens in unlikely places

Geoff Scott, CEO of Americas SAP User Group (ASUG), shared his experiences and insights as a former CIO and as CEO of ASUG, an organization within the SAP ecosystem that enables and assists the digital transformation of more than 3,700 member companies across all industries. Scott expressed candor by stating one simple fact: Disruption happens. But he took that observation one step further when he advised that everyone should take a big picture view of such change by looking beyond obvious sources of disruption. By looking through the lens of the company as a whole, CIOs can better understand the challenges of the CEO and the business network, while focusing efforts that can add maximum value.

Hear the entire discussion by viewing the on-demand replay, “IT Leadership for the Next Phase of Digital Transformation.” I hope to see you on our next Digital Business Services Marketing Webcast “Finance Strategies for Life Business Success” as we continue our focus on other key line-of-business leadership areas and more.

Fred is the senior director and head of Thought Leadership for Digital Business Services Marketing at SAP.

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