The vast majority of customers I speak with are senior line-of-business leaders, C-level executives, and boards of directors. They urgently want to know how technology can transform their businesses because they understand the risks of being displaced by digital disruption. In a recent conversation, the CFO of a leading worldwide retailer told me that the company is preparing for a future when their customers may never have to leave their cars.
While many executives acknowledge the threat of disruption, very few are aggressively digitizing their businesses, and even fewer are doing so in a way that positions them for sustainable success. Digitization is a business-led transformation that requires cross-functional execution. Executive leadership must unite around the need to digitize (a theme I will address in an upcoming blog).
Listening to the market is key in this. To help our customers understand the enormous challenge digital disruption poses to all industries around the world, and the steps needed to meet this challenge, I initiated a partnership between Cisco and IMD, a Swiss business school renowned for executive education and applied research, to create the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation.
This partnership is already having an impact. We have just released a book, called Digital Vortex, written by three members of the Cisco Digitization Office (CDO) and a professor from IMD. It is based on original research and engagement with hundreds of executives from some of the world’s biggest companies. It also exemplifies the daily conversations I have with customers.
Digital Vortex provides prescriptive insights and the “next practices” that mature companies can use to go on the offensive and become disruptors themselves. More specifically, the book shows how to develop the strategies and capabilities that innovative, disruptive companies employ.
When companies combine these techniques with leveraging their unique culture, assets, intellectual property, processes, and solutions, they will fundamentally re-engineer how they operate to become a digital business.
I’m excited about Digital Vortex because it can help executives move past inaction, and start making the cross-functional changes that will make them agile enough to compete with disruptors and win. I’m also excited because the network is the foundation for this agility, and Cisco is evolving our offerings and ourselves as we continue to listen to the market.