Digital transformation involves the implementation of digital technologies to fundamentally reshape business to drive operational efficiencies, deliver new customer experiences, and/or enable new lines of business. In other words, digital transformation initiatives are strategic. And the executive committee plays roles that are critical to the success of these types of initiatives.
No matter the project type or scale, a digital transformation needs strong leadership to succeed. And that’s where the executive steering committee comes in. Here’s a quick overview of four of the executive committee’s primary roles in digital transformation projects.
Executive Steering Committee Roles
The executive steering committee is comprised of several organizational decision-makers, often including the CIO, CEO, COO, and CFO. Their ultimate responsibility is to steer the project in the right direction to ensure its success.
Role #1: Setting the Strategy and Vision
Though many associate visionary leadership with rare business icons and failed moonshots, digital transformation calls for some of this.
Major digital projects – ones that involve business model changes or pervasive Industry 4.0 technology adoption – require vision backed by discipline and well calculated decisions.
It’s important to clearly articulate the program’s vision and strategy and to define clear objectives and success criteria. Are you establishing a new subscription services business model? Are you aiming to overhaul operations to reduce order fulfillment lead times by 50%?
Once the strategies are defined, the project execution team can develop an analysis of project options and business cases to deliver the strategies.
Role #2: Steering the Project
The task is in the name – steering the project means helping to keep it on track throughout the entire lifecycle, from discovery and planning to post go-live benefits realization.
Establishing the project’s charter is an essential component. With a clearly articulated set of objectives and outcomes, the team can then tightly define the project’s scope, set reasonable goals (budgets, schedules, and performance), and establish the change control process.
To help monitor project performance, it’s important to define and track the project at key checkpoints to validate whether the team is on course or needs to correct course.
Role #3: Securing Organizational Buy-in
For a digital transformation project to succeed, the entire company must be on board – from the CEO to the recently hired intern. Even though the executive committee might not do much of the heavy lifting during the digital transformation process, its leadership sets the tone for the entire company.
Part of securing organizational buy-in is ensuring that the business can still function day-to-day while the project is ongoing. Often, that means pulling key employees out of their day jobs for 50 percent to 100 percent of their working time to work on the project. To secure the support of departmental managers who are losing key players, executive leadership should consider allocating budget to backfill reassigned personnel.
So the steering committee must champion the project and be the agent of change for their organization. They can celebrate successes, inspire others, and remove any roadblocks to keep the project moving forward. Executive committee members should also actively encourage project managers and directors so that they can turn around and support their own team members.
Role #4: Preparing the Organization for Change
Along with securing organizational buy-in, the steering committee must prepare the entire company – and impacted external stakeholders – for the coming changes through effective communication, realignment of key performance indicators, and training programs.
Effective communication lies at the core of organizational change and goes beyond securing organizational buy-in—although that is an essential part. The steering committee also clearly explain the reasoning for the digital transformation and how the changes will impact internal employees and external stakeholders (such as customers and vendors).
The second part of change readiness — realigning targets — goes hand in hand with communication. The executive committee is responsible for ensuring that the metrics and targets align with the digital transformation project and drive it forward. And any target realignments — including those related to compensation — need to be communicated to stakeholders.
Of course, realignment and communication can only go so far without training. While the steering committee doesn’t personally oversee the training, they must ensure that proper programs exist to facilitate a successful implementation process.
Prepare for Success
Executive leadership and a well-structured steering committee are critical digital transformation success factors.
Do you need help chartering your committee and establishing a strong governance model? Contact us today and let’s discuss how we can help.