How to speak about technology and digital transformation in the company

From engineers to senior executives, from large suppliers to smaller customers, the ability of a technology manager to speak clearly about their goals and challenges can often be the key to a successful digital strategy.

So, how can CIOs improve their communication? Five digital leaders give advice on best practices.

1. Build a cultural sensitivity to digital change

Julie Dodd, Director of Digital Transformation and Communication at the Parkinson Foundation UK, says everyone in the business needs to understand that the success of IT-driven change is not just about buying the adequate kit.

Instead, transformation requires cultural change and an awareness of how technology can be used to help the company achieve its goals faster.

“That’s what the people who support us want,” she says, referring to donors who help fund the organization. “They are asking us to do their best for people with Parkinson’s disease as soon as possible, we want to find a cure and stop working as quickly as possible, and technology can be crucial to that end.”

Dodd believes that other IT managers need a similar approach, regardless of their industry. “Whatever the mission, you have to show that technology can certainly help,” she says, suggesting that many IT professionals are often convinced that technology must play an underlying role rather than directly changing the business.

“It is essential to ensure that no one attempts to place digital transformation in a specific corner of the business, as this will impede your ability to make the change.” Digital change is about working successfully in a connected world – and a lot of work needs to be done to spread this message. “

2. Be outward-looking and prepare for celebrity

Richard Corbridge, director of digital and information at NHS Trust Leeds Teaching Hospitals, believes that CIOs that truly stand out rely less and less on their technical expertise. “A CIO supported by a good CTO can truly bring the necessary digital revolution, and CIOs need to think about how they become leaders,” he says.

To this end, Corbridge believes that IT bosses should be outward-looking and assume a position that many would view as extraterrestrials. “CIOs must be ready to be famous,” he goes on to say.

“The CIO needs to be ready to speak in virtually every forum and explain how the change he is advocating is generating benefits for his organization, and this type of message will continue to grow in importance.”

According to Corbridge, the customer base, whether it’s customers, users or, in its world, patients, need to understand what’s wrong and what’s wrong with digital. ” CIOs need to be able to work more efficiently with system users that we are excited to deploy,” he says.

And that also counts when things go wrong. “When something breaks – and, unfortunately, it can happen – users want to know what’s wrong, when this problem is going to be fixed, and what updates they can expect.”

3. Clarify successes and challenges

Juan Perez, CIO of UPS, logistics specialist, judge him that IT managers had to share their success when the technology is effectively deployed in the enterprise. They must also ensure that when things do not go as smoothly as expected, their IT team is transparent and clear about what is happening and potential recovery plans.

“I have very good relationships with all the members of the management team, which means that I can go into anyone’s office and talk about successes, but also things that are not going so well and how we can work collectively to make improvements, “says Perez.

He encourages his direct collaborators, who are vice presidents of technology, to do the same – to sit down with their business partners and talk about priorities, technologies, and opportunities.

“They have to participate in the world of their trades colleagues, not just talk to third parties who have demands for technology work,” says Perez. “I want to make sure that, rather than hearing about IT and the business, as is done in most businesses, we are one team and all working toward common goals.”

4. Discuss regularly with your team over a coffee

Richard Gifford, CIO of Wincanton, points out that communication is a challenge for every business, not just a problem for people working in the IT department. On the IT side, he’s doing a lot of things.

“On a quarterly basis, we are holding a public meeting that will be a major update on the strategy: our current situation, the issues we face, the challenges, and so on, and there is a big slap on the back. for those who have done things, “says Gifford.

“Every month, we bring the team together and I sit on a desk and talk about three things that concern me at this time, again we celebrate the successes and we keep the team very focused on the things that we must realize. “

Gifford also remembers one of his recent actions to invite people to the canteen every month for a discussion. “I pay a coffee for the team members, we sit down and they can ask me any questions they want,” he says. “If there are any concerns or problems, we’ll just talk about it and we’ll spend an hour on it.”