Editor's note: The following is a guest article from Chris Nardecchia, SVP, information technology and CIO at Rockwell Automation.
The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation (DX) across all industries. By 2022, 70% of organizations will have accelerated use of digital technologies, transforming business processes to drive customer engagement, employee productivity and business resiliency.
At the same time, companies will realize greater value by combining digital transformation and sustainability initiatives.
The reason behind the investment is clear: When you simplify how your company manages data, you make it easier for everyone to access, understand and leverage the information they need to make decisions.
CIOs are well positioned to lead digital transformation and to design operating models that leverage data for deeper insights. One area of increasing importance for CIOs is sustainability. There are new investments and regulations around Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) issues, new ways to track and trace these sustainability initiatives and new ways to measure the impact.
The challenge is how to scale these analytics and metrics within an enterprise application — especially as global leaders and governments prioritize sustainability efforts, offer support for sustainable practices, and demand broader and deeper reporting.
Pivotal role of the CIO
On the DX journey, a skilled CIO can align leaders on strategy, facilitate enterprise-wide cultural change, and use emerging technologies to innovate and bring transformation to scale.
Every organization is a technology organization. The challenge for CIOs is keeping operations running and hitting revenue and growth targets. While every organization needs to be data driven – and many companies are data rich – they often lack insights from that data.
As a transformational CIO, your peers and your people look to you to collaborate on digital transformation strategies, lead the change for the organization, drive agile and flexible practices and be at the forefront of emerging technologies. They also look to you to help drive sustainability initiatives as CIO is in the best position to map information for sustainability metrics and reporting.
Customers and stakeholders want transparency, so it’s important to capture sustainability practices within your applications and processes, validate and share current practices.
Plus, analytics must be able to scale — from pilot through enterprisewide efforts. This is crucial to your leadership’s ability to fast-track sustainability initiatives and take advantage of government support of sustainability programs as well as meet regulatory guidelines and requirements.
CIOs have spearheaded other enterprise-wide efforts; DX is next.
Sense of Urgency
The pandemic uncovered gaps in plans, processes, organizations and supply chains. Here are five reasons why sustainability needs to be part of your digital transformation strategy:
Rapidly increasing emphasis on sustainability. The pressure is on from industry peers, competitors, stakeholders and customers, which means leaders must shift their focus on the organization's sustainability.
Everything is changing, fast. There are new investments — and new ways to track and trace these activities, and measure the impact. It is also important to note that these analytics and metrics within an enterprise application must be able to scale as the new administration looks to fast-track sustainability efforts, as well as realize the impact of government support for sustainability.
Voluntary sustainability reporting. Your organization's digital transformation strategy must take into account the ability to use data for required and voluntary reporting.
Increased monitoring of supplier requirements. As the awareness of sustainable practices continues to grow, leaders realize that a sustainability initiative extends outside of the organization.
A shift in consumer behavior. Consumers report caring more about ethical practices and sustainability efforts when making buying decisions and want organizations to prove sustainable claims and organizations can track and publish this with enterprise applications.
Sustainability and the bottom line
DX solutions can help you manage sustainability opportunities. For instance, we all know that gathering and analyzing vital data from across your business provides a more holistic view of operations. These insights, in turn, can then be used to determine how to best manage compliance concerns in real time.
What most enterprises learned from the transitions and practices put into play during the pandemic will continue to motivate us: companies will need to incorporate cloud-centric edge and network solutions for quicker responses and more flexibility in business operations. Leverage these learnings and technologies to address your sustainability initiatives as well.