Stronger Together – Breaking C-Suite Barriers Through Digital Transformation

Whenever I am asked to speak to a C Suite audience, their ears always perk up when I base my story around Dell Technologies’ own internal experiences. Today’s decision makers are well aware of the need for digital transformation, but the nuts and bolts of successful implementation can still be daunting. The desire is there, but the blueprint remains elusive.

Simply put, the key lies in strong partnerships across the board and a willingness to work together to achieve an all-encompassing goal. By combining strengths, each department gets what they want, transformation takes on a new dimension, and the company as a whole flourishes. It’s as easy as that.

Unification Offers a 360° Perspective

In Part One of my CIO/CMO Partnership blog, I discussed how the perspectives of the CIO and CMO are basically two sides of the same coin. IT sees the business looking out, while Marketing shifts the outlook to center on what the market wants, looking inward.

To illustrate, let’s examine how similar the basic needs of CIO and CMO are:

Improving the experience through personalization – CMOs want to increase customer satisfaction by leveraging a host of advances in AI, IoT, cloud computing and social media to customize their message and take the customer journey to new heights.

For CIOs, this means offering employees greater mobility and connectivity, including work-from-home, floating workspaces and stronger connections between departments and sites, as well as use of various mobile devices and apps that allow for customization.

Encouraging collaboration by opening new channels and streamlining existing ones – For the CMO, this involves improving m- and e-commerce through the use of in-store sensors and advanced analytics, which often result in real-time interactions with customers so as to personalize their message. This also allows for extending their ability to gather pertinent customer data for future use.

CIOs see advantages in improving global networking, video conferencing and file sharing capabilities across international sites. They also look to provide stronger, more organized intranet access and office tools such as Office 365, MS Teams, etc.

Enhancing efficiency – Faster webpage loading, the ability to handle greater numbers of online customers, and emerging tech innovations such as floating checkouts and shelf sensors to reduce paying and stocking times all work to the CMO’s advantage.

CIOs benefit from streamlined, technology backed new training programs, coupled with the aforementioned collaborative and organizational improvements designed to bring employees closer, increase flexibility and establish new, more productive ways of working.

Implementing and enforcing greater security measures – Both parties recognize the importance of protecting financial and confidential data, be it for the employee or customer.

By recognizing their similarity of vision, CIOs and CMOs can more easily combine forces to determine which emerging technologies are most beneficial to the company as a whole, while doubling return-on-investment, extending their corporate reach and increasing the odds of a successful digital transformation.

The Intersection of Employee and Customer Satisfaction

Though a necessity for survival in the modern age, committing to a full scale digital transformation does not ensure success on its own. Just as marketers seek to satisfy the hyper-connected customer, for IT professionals the focus is on the hyper-connected employee and organization, and that means taking the necessary steps to transform the workplace to meet the needs of the Digital Age.

To today’s workforce, strong technology in the workplace is no longer seen as a luxury, but a necessity. Younger generations of employees have grown up connected and tech savvy, and they now demand the same level of quality, innovation and personalization in the office as they experience in their personal lives. When they come to work, they bring the same expectations they have when ordering a pair of pants at home online. Nearly half of American Millennials (42%) say they’d likely quit a job if workplace technology didn’t meet their standards.

If companies want to attract (and keep) the best and brightest, they need to implement technology capable of allowing their employees to turn their visions into reality. Those who fail to do so risk certain extinction.

If you think about it, today’s employees are really just customers who went to work. Our C Suite perspectives have merged, our corporate vision is consistent, and our goals are now unified.

Transformation Begins at Home

As a representative of a giant international company, with all the resources that entails, it may seem easy for me to talk about the importance of digital transformation. But consider this, as the world’s largest privately controlled technology organization, with greater than $72 billion in revenue and 145 thousand team members, when it comes to transforming our IT and digitizing our workforce – and doing it securely – we have exactly the same challenges as you.  The bottom line is – we are a company like any other.

So what did we do?  Well, we created the Dell Technologies IT Proven Program. In point of fact, we are Dell Technologies’ first and best customer, spending billions on our own IT.

Let’s focus on our own Workforce Transformation initiative. Our in-house program centered on meeting the demands of that new breed of employee we’ve just discussed. Basically, we thought of them as customers. We analyzed them.

First, we pinpointed what they wanted, sought to improve their experience, and looked at the channels we needed to communicate with them effectively.

Their expectations are high. They demand:

  • Full mobility and global connectivity
  • Focus on speed and agility
  • Ongoing innovation, and
  • Access to intuitive experiences that allow them not only to grow and learn, but to put this new knowledge to use

That was no small order, especially when you take into consideration that IT has always been measured in terms of cost. Even so, we chose to include the human factor in our strategy, focusing not only on the price tag, but also quality of User Experience. Then we saw where things overlapped and devised a plan to amplify the most important aspects common to all.

Know Your Market – Understand Your Employee

Much like Marketers courting their customers, we created an initiative that sought to:

  • Personalize the experience by creating role based personas to deliver the right apps, data and devices to meet the needs of each employee and department
  • Promote secure and efficient collaboration and communication by enabling Dynamic Teams capable of communicating anywhere, at any time, on any device
  • Deliver faster, more efficient workforce services including automation and self-service to simplify and streamline workforce consumption

Basically, we leveraged those same technologies Marketing uses to increase customer engagement, and put them in a workplace environment. Personalization was key.

By knowing our employees, understanding their different needs and catering to their preferences, we were better able to find tangible, workable solutions, such as:

  • Standardizing Windows 10
  • Rolling out MS Office 365
  • Customizing application experiences with Vmware Workspace One
  • Offering seamlessly connected wifi, and
  • Providing mobile apps customized to the needs of the workforce

Just as Marketers use Big Data to detect a customer about to defect, we even created our own in-house app to signal when employees were unhappy and potentially looking for work elsewhere.

The moral of the story is that when C Suite members commit to making the change to partner with each other,  goals are united, diversity of perspective and skills combine and the possibilities for tomorrow become limitless.