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The importance of internal leadership for digital success

"Steve Jobs didn’t really set the direction of my Apple I and Apple II designs, but he did the more important part of turning them into a product that changed the world." - Steve Wozniak

As Ginny Remitly explained in the video above, advisory organisations “come in” to help their clients; however, digital success is also dependent on those “who go out” from within their organisation. Creating a business model, delivering services, and managing technology, require different types of technology leaders. Working within a technology organisation (i.e., Microsoft) is different to professional services (i.e., KPMG) and managing technology within an organisation is different again. Digital and technology leaders within organisations have a wonderful opportunity and a responsibility to redefine a company’s services to their industry. However, often the most senior digital or technology executive reports to a member of the executive team rather than being part of the team. When a digital conversation occurs at the board or executive level, it happens without a technology industry professional present.

Why is this the situation?

Technology executives have their biases, some of which has contributed to their success but also their exclusion.

The TECHNICAL CIO (Chief Information Officer)

Is comfortable and confident with their technical nous, they can be found architecting, coding software or provisioning infrastructure. Their background is within technical roles and limited business experiences. There is a belief that their technical capability can resolve any problem. They work ‘in’ technology rather than ‘on’ the business.


Has arrangements in place or is making the arrangements for the delivery of services from a third party. This can present opportunities such as automation of infrastructure to the cloud but also risks the outsourcing of traditional services and projects to third parties. They manage a scorecard, and the potential of an organisation evolving is beholden on a third party.

What are the consequences?

When establishing or being within an outsourcing relationship, there is a risk that the provider will be measured/rewarded on the delivery of services rather than evolving the service. A business can stagnate, and degradation of technical currency is the potential consequence.


Considers their team is an extension of the business rather than a service provider to the business. They understand, clearly contribute to, and co-create parts of the broader business strategy.


Through applying a framework like the below that is available in section five of this book.

The blogs in future weeks will clearly break out how these leaders can identify opportunities and evolve business models.


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