We’ve been telling you that you need to transition from strictly managing an IT Agenda to owning a BT Agenda, too. 2016 is the year that needs to happen: your CEO will be looking for you to drive digital in your company — and increasingly digital is becoming your business.

At the center of your digital strategy is today’s empowered customer who expects you to be able to serve her in her moment of need. Nearly half of executives in a new survey responded that they believe in less than five years digital will have an impact on more than half their sales. Twelve percent of retailers, that are dealing with consumers showrooming and making their transactions online, believe they will be 100 percent digital by 2020.

Winners in the age of the customer will embed digital into all parts of the business, harmonize virtual and in-store experiences, and be able to rapidly shift to meet the hyperadoption/hyperabandonment behavior of customers.

The scary news? Only a quarter of businesses have a coherent digital strategy to create customer value as a digital business. The onus is on you to deliver that strategy. As CIO, you need to offer a holistic view on the digital transformation that encompasses not just how your firm can harness emerging technology to create customer value, but how your team can help drive synergies across the customer experience ecosystem. We believe the only way to achieve this is a customer-obsessed operating model that will permeate throughout your business and focus on six elements: structure, talent, culture, metrics, processes, and technology.

Here are three things you can do in 2016 to win at driving digital:

  • Identify digital lighthouse projects. Prove that you can help deliver quick returns and build confidence in your digital skills. Your CEO will be looking for this sort of evidence of digital leadership and strong collaboration across the executive team.
  • Speed up IT simplification and accelerate the BT agenda. Link the massive back-end refactoring efforts to agility gains — and not just operating cost — while also pushing hard on departmental leaders to do away with custom systems that provide limited value and stand in the way of creating a simpler unified portfolio.
  • Lead through a culture of collaboration and open innovation. Run hackathons, set up targeted incubators and publish APIs to partners. Set realistic expectations with internal stakeholder about what you can do and what you need to find help to do.

Read more about our predictions for CIOs in 2016 and stay tuned to this space for more learnings from Forrester’s Age of the Customer Executive Summit, taking place this week in Sarasota, FL.