Digital Transformation: Why You Need a C-Suite Champion

Andrew Rieser
By Andrew Rieser | Co-Founder and CEO, Mountain Point
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Why do you need a C-Suite Champion in Digital Transformation?

11-minute video


Digital transformation isn’t something you can delegate. Successful initiatives amount to major cultural shifts in your organization, so executive buy-in and day-to-day leadership are essential.

See also: 10 Best Practices for Digital Transformation

In this 10-minute video, we talk through the importance of identifying a c-suite champion to lead your digital transformation efforts. We offer tips for maintaining momentum and uniting your entire team. And we outline proven strategies to help you build a culture of continual improvement that extends from the shop floor to the back office to your everyday interactions with customers.



This episode is part of our 12-part mini-series during which we’ll talk through each of our 10 Best Practices for Digital Transformation.

Have a question you’d like answered?

Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll talk through it on a future episode!


What's the ROI? Just six months after implementing their digital transformation efforts, luxury textile manufacturer Matouk saw a 233% return on their investments. 

Read the Matouk ROI report


Transcript: Digital Transformation: Why You Need a C-Suite Champion


Jessica: Hello and thanks for joining us for another Q&A Friday, a series where we chat about issues facing manufacturing companies in the world of industry 4.0. I'm Jessica Vodden, a team member here at Mountain Point, and I'm joined by Andrew Rieser, our president and co-founder. Hey Andrew.

Andrew: Hey Jess.

Jessica: Okay, so. This is actually an ongoing conversation that we've kind of launched a couple of weeks ago where we are breaking down the 10 best practices for managing a digital transformation project. So, if you guys out there listening follow along on our blog, we recently released a 10-step guide to managing digital transformation. It got a lot of great feedback from a lot of you and follow-up questions, so we are breaking down each step of the 10 steps and having a more robust conversation about it, picking Andrew's brain and utilizing some of his experience to talk through these issues. And today we're gonna tackle the importance of having a C-suite or a C-level champion supporting the effort. So, Andrew, why is that important?

Andrew: I think in any organization having a strong leader and a strong set of C-suite champions in digital transformation is key because everybody within the organization wants to know where the business is going, wants to know that the transparency and the changes that are gonna be made to keep the business thriving, so I think that a top-down communication in leadership is absolutely necessary.

Jessica: Okay, and so, if I'm somebody that is working in a company and I've decided that I'm going to make this my project, I'm gonna take this on, I'm gonna manage this and be that champion, what can I expect as I undertake this sort of project? What kind of time commitment? What do I need to be good at in order to make sure that the project is successful?

Andrew: I think the sarcastic but yet real answer is, whatever you think it's gonna be, triple it. Change is hard, change is difficult, and the amount of time that needs to be invested in these transformations needs to demand focus of the leadership but also the key stakeholders within the organization that are helping drive this change as well. So, I think it's really interesting over the past five to 10 years, if you look at all the different articles, it seems like every year they're identifying who the new C-suite champions wanna be and coming out with new terms for that. So it's the CEO's responsibility or it's the CTO's and then it becomes the CIO's and then it's the CXO and into your letter that you wanna replace for the the middle initial of what they're describing. But the point being is that, I think it's everybody's responsibility and everybody needs to know their role in this and ultimately I think that starts at the top. So even within our own organization here at Mountain Point, we are constantly evolving and changing and it falls on me to set those expectations, to set the vision, and just to circle back to the original statement, I've gotta be focused and I've got to realize, and I have realized, that it takes way more time and energy than what you anticipate, and the willingness to be in the trenches and invest that amount of time is absolutely necessary.

Jessica: Right, so, I think your point about, insert the letter here, is really characteristic of this concept because it touches every aspect of the business. And so marketing is interested in moving to an omnichannel experience and a more automated series of pathways and funnels. The shop floor has modernized and they want to integrate more fully with supply chain and order fulfillment. So, if I'm the champion and I have the goal of modernizing my company, where do I start? Do I build a team? Do I pick a problem? Obviously, I've probably got a pain point that I wanna solve, but how do I really make sure that our entire company is focused on this issue?

Andrew: I think the beauty of the manufacturing space and how this industry is evolving is that there a plethora of pain points and opportunities that exist within organizations today. So when you think about the process and the systems challenges and all these different leaders across the C-suite that you highlighted, whether it be the CIO, the CMO, whomever, they all have their own digital initiatives that tie together to make up this whole transformation. So I think it's whatever term you wanna use, establishing an internal steering committee, tiger team, to really get in alignment across each of those different verticals so that you're not doing this in a silo. Which is also I think common in this space and in business in general, it's that folks tend to go off and take control and ownership of the things that they can control and it's hard to step outside of the swim lanes. And I think for these transformations to be successful, everybody has to be willing to take part in it and realize that the objective isn't to continue in these silos and create more silos but to get all the different departments and divisions talking and sharing their ideas and prioritizing those and setting those initiatives so that the business can continuously improve.

Jessica: Okay. So, what about bringing in outside help? Is it valuable to have an external consultant or a team to give that insight? Or are homegrown initiatives typically more successful?

Andrew: I think it has to be a balance of both. I think the value of bringing in outside support and help helps create that focus and accountability and lessens the finger pointing, if you will, internally, because it's another set of eyes that brings best practices and can share experiences of our lessons learned and trials and tribulations of working with other companies. So I think that is extremely valuable in these transformation efforts. But there also has to be the internal homegrown accountability of it as well, and I think balancing time across all those is what usually proves to be difficult. So, again, you've gotta tie it back to making sure that the focus and time management of setting your priorities and evolving off of those is key to all this.

Jessica: Right, so it's not just hire somebody and then hand it over to them, it's really a collaborative process, then?

Andrew: Absolutely. There's no silver bullet, there's no easy button to push. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. So I think the challenges that are out there are absolutely valid and I think that it's a team effort across the board, internal, external, and really approaching it holistically like that.

Jessica: Yep. And, I know you and I have talked in the past about which projects are most sort of right for digital transformation. So, if I'm looking to tackle my organization as a whole, should I start with the easiest project, the hardest project, where do I begin?

Andrew: What we see is it usually falls somewhere in between. I think that it's easy to just say, "Oh, our problem is we need to have customer relationship management because in order for us to improve and solve and make doing business with our customers better we need to have a CRM in place." And I think that's fine but I also think that the expectations around what that means and how that will actually transform the business sets the bar pretty low. On the flip side of it, undertaking an ERP and replacing your 30-year-old legacy ERP system is extremely painful and nobody wants to jump right into these initiatives, with the equivalent of an open-heart surgery. So I think that somewhere in between and really tackling a project that can show near-immediate value is where to begin.

Jessica: Awesome. Yeah, and I think this level of focus and really thinking through the various components of these initiatives is really important. And we mentioned having a partner, I think that's key. Because the awful truth, I mean, I've seen statistics recently estimating that about 70% of digital transformation projects fail. And that doesn't mean that you shouldn't take them on but, like you said, if it were easy everybody would do it and it would just happen, but you have to be very intentional about going into this. So, any final advice for somebody who's considering watching this type of initiatives and make sure that they beat the odds?

Andrew: Yeah, I think it's going into it with eyes wide open and knowing that it's gonna be hard, it's gonna be painful, and it's gonna touch multiple aspects of the business. And the people aspect of it is probably gonna be the most difficult, from a business process standpoint. Business processes are easy, right? It's identifying how you're currently doing it and where you can improve and identifying that gap analysis, so you can go through those drills all day long. You can look at your ERP system or your systems of engagement and refine and tweak those all day long but ultimately you've gotta be able to get your internal resources on board so that they see the value but more importantly your customers and whoever you're doing business with begins to reap the benefits of these changes. 'Cause that's ultimately the way that this world is going. Like we talked about before, customers are evolving and changing and their expectations are changing, so these initiatives need to drive value back to that focus.

Jessica: Yep. And, you know, we've seen that when done correctly, they can yield tremendous ROI. And we have a couple of case studies where people have seen upwards of 200% return on their investment within just a few months. So, when done right, they're absolutely offering a competitive edge to companies that are able to undertake them, but getting it right is obviously key. And we'll talk through some of the other issues surrounding getting it right in future episodes in this series in the coming weeks, so please follow along, subscribe. For those of you out there listening, please let us know if you have any follow-up questions or anything that you'd like us to tackle, you can hit us up on social media. You can email us, call us, we're always listening and we're here for you. Andrew, thanks again.

Andrew: Thank you, Jess.


What's the ROI? Just six months after implementing their digital transformation efforts, luxury textile manufacturer Matouk saw a 233% return on their investments. 

Read the Matouk ROI report


Topics: Digital Transformation

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