How a Decision Support System Impacts Digital Transformation Outcomes
As digital transformation initiatives become more complex, success will depend on having a decision support system—a collaborative group of influencers that can help leaders avoid obstacles and make the right decisions.
In this post, we’ll explore how a decision support system can benefit any business pursuing digital transformation.
Specifically, we’ll learn:
- Why decision support systems are necessary
- What a decision support system should look like
- Who should offer input into the process
To begin, it’s important to understand the context behind digital transformation at the enterprise level.
Why a decision support system is needed for digital transformation
Digital transformation initiatives are among the most complicated types of organizational change. They are not just a shift that can be made overnight, but rather procedural evolutions that require the backing of multiple departments.
Their impacts often stretch across the entire organization, affecting areas including:
- Business strategy
- The business model
- Organizational culture
- Workflows and the workplace
Naturally, IT plays a heavy role in digital transformation, which is why the role of the CIO is evolving so rapidly.
Yet because digital transformation programs affect so many areas of a company, it is crucial to have input from all of the right stakeholders.
Who should inform decision-making
First and foremost, it is important to understand that every organization is unique and every digital transformation program will vary in structure. Decision support systems, therefore, should also be constructed differently depending on the circumstances.
To achieve the best results, there are a number of business leaders and specialists who should be involved in every decision related to digital transformation.
Aside from the CEO, a few of those include:
While many CIOs have previously focused their efforts on IT operations, that has changed in recent years.
As research firms such as IDG have pointed out, many CIOs self-identify as either “strategic” or “transformational” CIOs and are being held responsible for tasks above and beyond IT service management (ITSM).
Research from Tata Consultancy Services has shown that digital transformation initiatives are more successful when CIOs take the helm and invest in digital innovation.
Per that research, it is a safe bet to not only accept input from the CIO, but to offer them leadership over digital transformation programs.
IT is becoming central to modern business operations, but this doesn’t mean that one department should have 100% ownership over digital initiatives.
On the contrary, since IT impacts every area of the organization, every business leader should offer their perspective on a digital strategy.
If an organization chooses to adopt a cutting-edge CRM platform, that adoption plan could fuel other changes such as new employee training programs, new integrations between sales and other departments, and more. These changes, in turn, would impact other departments such as customer service, marketing, and HR.
The more sweeping the digital change, the more it will affect other areas of the business—and the more important it is to collaborate closely with the relevant business leaders.
When new digital tools and strategies are introduced, new workflows, new business processes, and even new cultural norms are also introduced.
To unlock the true potential of an HR tech stack, HR leaders will need to support these changes by upgrading functions such as employee onboarding, employee training, the digital employee experience, and the work environment.
The more vast the change implemented, the greater the impact it will have on the workforce. So, as the workplace continues to evolve, it will become crucial for HR to work alongside digital leaders to maintain stability and ensure employees stay satisfied, engaged, and productive.
Major business transformations can be highly disruptive for daily operations. So much so that resistance from employees is one of the leading reasons why transformations fail.
Overcoming that resistance is one among several reasons to invest in structured change management—a discipline designed to create, implement, and oversee organizational changes.
When companies understand and apply the principles of change management, digital transformation programs will run into fewer obstacles, meet more deadlines, and, ultimately, see better results.
Other stakeholders and specialists
According to a report by IDG, on average, 21 people were involved in buying decisions around new technology investments in 2019.
Given the widespread effects of technology on the workplace, the size of this group of influencers shouldn’t be surprising (and has probably grown since then).
The real takeaway here is that digital transformation efforts often involve multiple tech purchases over a period of months or years, which means more people will be impacted by, and included in, these decisions.
Every decision support system should therefore include experts, specialists, board members, and even input from frontline employees.
The C-suite will naturally steer any digital transformation effort and, as mentioned, the reigns should be placed in the hands of IT leaders.
However, due to the deep complexity and widespread impact of digital transformation programs, it is important to invite as much input as possible when designing and driving these programs.