Leading Digital Transformation

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Today I had the pleasure of meeting with the Amazon Web Services team to discuss transformation and change.

It seems everywhere we look, organisations are talking about digital transformation, and Amazon is certainly the place to look for global leadership in technology, analytics, and cloud. 

This interesting session started me thinking about two things in particular:

1.       How well should non-technical leaders understand the technology landscape?  

2.       How best do technical experts and business leaders tailor their communications to ensure the right level of understanding is established?

Certainly it’s important for leaders to step out of the detail and empower their teams to deliver.  When a leader has emerged from a technical background, and they still fundamentally understand the mechanics of a business, there is not much of a gap to solve. 

However, when a business is undertaking a move to a new technology – how do they build their base understanding, and how do they know when they know enough?  This seems particularly pertinent when we’re likely talking about critical issues such as customer information, cyber-security, and business continuity.

AWS certainly has a focus on ‘customer obsession’ which translates to a number of positive customer outcomes, not least, ensuring their customers are left with knowledge of how to manage and continuously improve their new digital landscapes. 

How do other organisations tackle the challenge of knowing if they know enough?  How much technical knowledge do leaders need in order to lead a digital transformation?