September 29, 2023

No single approach for digital leadership guarantees success – Ego Joseph

No single approach for digital leadership guarantees success – Ego Joseph

Prince Osuagwu

…Says  every organization has industry-specific leadership

EGO JOSEPH Oborakpororo, is a seasoned Information Technology Expert at 9AppSoft, a Software company and a renowned player in the digital space. In this interview with some selected journalists, he spoke on  key leadership skills to drive digital transformation in the country. Excerpts:

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed more companies and organizations to embrace digital channels in their day to day activities. The fast space at which IT is evolving has also propelled positive thinking investors to think digital transformation. How would you react to this?

Indeed the COVID-19 pandemic really increased the embracement of digital technology and empansized the need for remote work. First and foremost, what is digital transformation? In simple term, it is the integration of digital technologies into all aspects of business operations. That means identifying how to use technologies to deliver new products and services, to improve existing products and services, and to streamline processes. I am a passionate advocate of digital technology, I implore Nigerians and the world over to embrace it even the more.

So what is digital leadership? 

Digital leadership is the art of using digital technologies to achieve desired business outcomes. It encompasses a variety of skills and abilities that aid digital transformation. From what I have said, there is difference between digital leadership and digital leaders.

Who are digital leaders?

Digital leaders drive an organization’s digital transformation, maintaining organizational health and competitiveness. Leaders use digital leadership skills and abilities to provide organizational benefits, enhance customer experience, reduce time to market, improve solution quality, and add meaning to data-driven insights.

According to Barry Ross, of Ross & Ross International, “You can’t delegate digital transformation for your company. You and your executives have to own it, engage, embrace, and adopt new ways of working with the latest and emerging technologies.”

It is also important to say here that who is a digital leader is not clearly stated anywhere. It varies from organizations to another. Some organizations have a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) who handles everything digital. However, some argue having a CDO or Chief Technology Officer (CTO) creates a digital silo. It’s suggested that digital duties should best be carried out in a variety of roles.

Here’s an example of how digital leadership could  spread across an organization, depending on the industry:

1). Chief Executive Officer (CEO) could plan digital strategy

2).Chief Information Officer (CIO) handles digital execution.

3). Chief Technology or Digital Officer (CTO or CDO) weighs in on product development.

4). Chief Customer Officer keeps a close watch on customer care.

5). Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) tracks application lifecycles and threats.

5). Chief Transformation Officer (CTO) worked on digitizing processes.

There is no single approach or arrangement for digital leadership that guarantees success. With a single leader, there can be a danger of a digital silo evolving.

Which digital leadership skills aid successful transformation?

A: Some of the fundamental digital leadership skills among others needed for digital transformation are :

1. Think Strategically to Build Digital Vision and Strategy.

2. Communicate Clearly to Realize Projects.

3. Be Flexible in Managing Innovation.

4. Make Quality Decisions About Technology.

5. Know Your People and Manage Wisely.

Must one be an IT expert or professional to play a digital leadership role?

You neither need to be an IT expert or IT professional to play a role. I earlier said CEOs could plan digital strategy, Chief Customer Officer keeps a close watch on customer care and so on. Everyone especially the top executives has majority of roles to play.

Whatever your area of expertise or level within an organizational hierarchy, these fundamental skills given can help everyone to be successful in their roles – from the entry-level backend developer to the CIO.