On the way to the office, I stopped at a traffic light that only let three cars through before it turned red again. In my frustration, I asked myself who had come up with something like this and how it worked, that is, which color leads.
After a quick search, I learned that before the invention of the electric traffic light, traffic officers controlled the flow of traffic in large cities . They manually directed pedestrian traffic as well as carriage traffic in places like London Bridge and other high-traffic streets. This was the case from at least 1722 to 1912, when a police officer in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA , invented the red and green electric traffic light. He automated and digitally transformed, so to speak, a process that had existed for almost 200 years.
The way to digital transformation
Green vs. red
There is a similar situation in the business area. For some time now, the question has been who is leading the digital transformation. I see IT as a green light and the industry as a red light. Both are equal, but both want to take control of the digital transformation. Like a traffic light, both should work together to digitally transform their organization.
Historically, the CIO was the person who saw the importance of transformation in companies. As a systems specialist, he was familiar with the search for technologies that support companies in designing work processes effectively and efficiently. He was the green light that got the traffic of digital transformation going.
Over time, business needs changed and the CIO often took strategic initiatives to help make the business run more efficiently. But there was a lack of technology that could help executives do their jobs more effectively. For example, an efficient cloud storage system helps companies save costs, but it cannot give executives any insight into a specific set of customer data to keep customers longer. This is how managers became the red light. They slowed down the CIO so that they can identify business needs that can be optimized not only for efficiency but also for company effectiveness. The red light is critical to ensuring that new technology improves not only operating costs but the bottom line as well.
Red and green light determine which cars are allowed through. Similarly, the industry and IT must determine which market developments they allow in their company. The driving force behind digital transformation is the commercialization of technology. Employees often know exactly what they need to be able to work more effectively. They know what’s possible because they experience the technology on their cell phones and expect the same experience with business applications. Because they too are dealing with a deluge of data in the form of instant messaging, email, reports, websites and more.
The IT department has invested heavily in email communication over the past 25 years. But for many, email was not efficient. The form of emails makes it too long to read and the flood of data they receive is difficult to grasp. That’s why IT invested in chat communication. But the only thing that really changed was that employees could write shorter emails that would be sent immediately.
As a result, some industry leaders implemented collaboration software that enabled shorter messages with the option to include documents, project management, and more. The mobile app allowed this at any time and from any location. However, this is still only evolutionary. Digital transformation would automate a lot of tedious work and provide information for effective decisions,
In successful digitization initiatives, I have found time and again that the CIO becomes a pioneer in business requirements. The CIO discusses with the individual business areas at regular intervals how they can make their processes more effective. Employee surveys and internal analyzes are also part of this. The main question a CIO should ask is “Why are you doing this?” As soon as he determines the need for action, the classic IT concept can be redesigned and the efficient technology used can be used to develop effective, digitally transformed business processes.
On the other side of the intersection, executives will grapple with the CIO to identify processes that can be digitally transformed. They help Fix and rethink inefficient workflows to innovate the way employees do business. These processes help the CIO prioritize projects and provide resources for activities that can be effectively handled by their teams. Managers will help drive innovation. When development and operations meet, business processes become better, faster and more successful.
So who should play a leading role in digitization? The answer is: both. Red and green light need each other. The company can only control market developments with both of these. CIOs and executives must come together at the interface of development and operations in order to work together successfully and lead the digital transformation in their organizations.