While listening to a podcast recently (for the life of me I cannot remember which one!) one of the hosts said "in 10 years time, every business will be run by someone technical". I nodded to myself when hearing this and the more I think about it the more I found myself in agreement, well with the sentiment at least.
Digital Effects Every Business
I struggle to think of a business that is not effected by digital, especially if that business is looking to stay current in its market. Whether it is the computers they are using, the marketing channels they use to reach their customers, the process of completing an order, their internal accounts and even their HR department.
Every aspect of a business will use some sort of system or online platform to function, and importantly they will engage with their customers using technology and systems. The ability to ensure these systems are integrated with your businesses processes is key to ensuring a business survives. It is this fact that leads me to believe that someone with a technical background should have a central position in leading a company.
Digital thinking at all times
Having an IT Manager, CTO or IT Director is all well and good, but if they are compartmentalised where they're only consulted on decisions where business leaders believe they are needed, then you could be missing out on opportunities.
If you are looking to launch a new service to your customers, expand a department in your business, trying a new marketing channel or even changing the supplier for your businesses milk orders in the morning. At first glance you may not think there would be a need to involve IT in all of these areas, but they will have an insight into the possibilities that non technical leaders may not have.
Just as every current process can be improved with Digital, every new process should be optimised for digital from the beginning. Changing it later will be much more costly!
If a business leader uses the phrases like "All this technology 'stuff' baffles me but I have a great team who does that for me" then it should ring alarm bells.
Culture is everything
A business is heavily influenced by its leaders. If a business leader has a certain style that see's digital as an afterthought, you will find that filters down into the business and creates a culture that does not see technology as a driver for improvement. If your business does not have a culture for digital then your investment in that area will drop and it will come at a cost to you in the future.
A business leader that is confident in digital thinking will encourage a culture of change and improvement. They will focus on making the business efficient as possible with technology, they will ensure your customers demands for 24/7 access to data can be met. Most importantly, the will encourage this thinking throughout the business.
So when next picking your leaders within a business, check if they see technology as an enabler for growth, or risk your business being left behind.