Is transforming your content the first step in real digital transformation?

“If you’re not struggling with digital transformation, you’re doing something wrong.”

This comment was among the opening remarks of Jim Love, CIO and Chief Digital Officer at ITWC, and moderator of the Canadian CIO Executive Roundtable on the role content plays in digital transformation. Jim’s comment was met with nods and knowing smiles by the roughly twenty participants, all CIOs from sectors ranging from education to security to financial services.

The gathering of so many CIOs on a weekday morning drives home the fact that digital enablement has become imperative for organizations across all sectors. First to be disrupted was the publishing sector. Cab companies quickly followed. Fast forward to 2018, and the healthcare and financial services sectors—thought to be mostly untouchable by the intractable demands of digital transformation—are moving to the cloud to maintain their competitive advantage

Time is of the essence
Think your recently renovated on-premise infrastructure is safe from digital disruption? Think again. Systems installed as recently as six years ago can be considered legacy, especially if they operate in silos or don’t play well with cloud apps.

“It’s about survival,” explains Tyler Yates, Senior ECM Specialist at ATB Financial. “If we did things the same as we did ten years ago with on-prem systems, and we mapped our improvement in any given area, we would see a nice straight-line trending upwards. This is a problem. We are competing with services that were born in the cloud. Incremental growth won’t cut it; we need to transform exponentially.”

Becoming digitally enabled through content management
Regardless of industry, there’s one thing every company has in common: content, and lots of it. There’s an argument to be made—indeed, the thesis of the roundtable discussion—that the best place to begin a digital transformation is to examine the way in which you manage your content. The reason for this is that digital transformation is all about breaking down silos, so teams can work more efficiently and better serve their customers.

The logical starting point for this is content. Inserting a content layer for search and storage on top of collaboration, reporting, sharing, and meeting applications can have a profound impact on a company.
The implications of this are massive. With better search and discovery capabilities, customers can respond to customers more easily and better follow them on their journey. Breaking down content silos also leads to higher employee satisfaction. This is critical for attracting the best and brightest talent. It’s also important for increasing customer retention, because as we all know, employee morale quickly trickles down to the customer experience.

Digital transformation requires vision and intent
Perhaps the most important aspect of digital transformation is that in order to be effective, it must be done for the right reasons.

According to Yates, the best way to do this is by staying customer focused. “At ATB, we are customer obsessed,” explains Yates. “This is what it takes to compete with fin/tech companies who have the advantage of being born in the cloud. Our differentiator is our mission to improve the lives our customer, and for us this starts with changing the way we structure and access our content.”

If there’s one thing that is certain, it’s that virtualizing and moving your on-premises processes to the cloud does not constitute a digital transformation. As Jim Love said, “Running systems in the cloud the same as you did on-premises will only cause them to fall apart faster.”

To learn more about how roundtable sponsor Box is enabling digital transformation through content, click here.

For more insights gained from the roundtable, check back for our full report.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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