Technology executives — CIOs, CTOs, chief digital officers, and chief data officers, among others — have a primary responsibility to put technology and data squarely into the growth conversation. No other executive has the full visibility and opportunity that you as a tech leader do. But to be in the room where growth conversations happen, you must earn the right to be there. Mike Macrie, CIO of toy company Melissa & Doug, focuses on three things to earn the right to be in the growth conversation:
- Flawlessly operate the core systems while simultaneously reducing costs.
- Execute projects and transformation collaboratively and effectively.
- Lead growth with innovation and execution.
You can earn a seat at the growth table and empower your teams by establishing a future fit approach to technology-driven growth through which you and your IT team:
- Enable growth by flawlessly scaling and securing customer solutions. Marketing, sales, product, digital, and service platforms span the customer journey. These customer solutions are vital everyday tools that should work so well that they disappear into the background for customers and the employees who serve them. One CIO we spoke with told us, “It turns out that I actually own customer experience, because I’m responsible for the systems that serve them.”
- Create growth by collaboratively building products that open new markets. Creating growth is everybody’s responsibility. And because CIOs and the IT organization have the broadest span of control and visibility across business, processes, and data systems, they are in the best position to see the big picture and help. Marcos Kurowski, CTO at Australian plumbing supply giant Reece Group says, “We have a unique vantage point looking across the whole enterprise. When three of our divisions started developing services for commercial customers, we could see the need for a single projects-led business stack that could support all three.”
- Amplify growth by elevating insights, automation, and algorithms to optimize everything. You can always improve outcomes and experiences. Artificial intelligence is just the newest tool in the improvement toolkit, joining analytics, automation, robotic process automation, and software itself. Personalization at scale is a good example of amplifying growth. Collaborate with marketing and mine all the databases to find better purchase signals that improve offers and outreach; your CMO will love you. Automate processes to streamline onboarding and improve revenue recognition; your CFO and customer experience team will love you. Put customer and product insights into employees’ hands and make them experts, and they’ll quickly make it part of their customer engagement success; sales leaders will also love you.
Technology has the ability to take us in new directions faster than ever before. Take three steps immediately to establish IT, and yourself, as a foundation of growth for your company: 1) Raise your teams’ awareness of their role in the growth agenda; 2) establish technology’s role in growth for the next 12 months; and 3) communicate your role in the growth agenda with your peers in the C-suite. Put the plan on a single page so that it’s easy to share.
This is just a smattering of the detailed guidance and recommendations we have on how to drive growth. If you’re a Forrester client and would like to learn more, please set up a time for us to talk. You can also follow or connect with me on LinkedIn. If your company has expertise to share on this topic, feel free to submit a briefing request.