The one key thing which needs to happen is Upper management has to start becoming more more digitally savvy and ask questions as to "how we can do
insert function digitally?"
Was this a question based on his observation of what he saw happening in companies? I think so. I would also add unless there is a visionary at the top of the organization leading the way or there is the pain of competition eating away at revenue and cost structures, management doesn't want change. This is not the kind of leadership we need in organizations right now. So what can be done to wake up our slumbering management?
The one thing about being in an organization is that your opinion is not as important as the person who comes from outside your organization. Even if you say the same thing as an outside consultant or leader, it just doesn't count. The more you pay for the outside education or consultation, the better it is to most C Level folks. Even if it costs much, educate the C-suite about the opportunities and threats of going digital.
Look at what others inside and outside of your industry are doing to leverage digital to serve their customers better, optimize operations or have new business models. This is not just mental gymnastics, but a search for how to deploy digital advantages successfully.
Scour Success Stories:
Find examples of organizations leveraging digital. There are emerging examples in the financial and healthcare industries, but you can find examples in all industries. Here are a couple for you:
Give a Voice to Savvy CIOs:
Often the business folks do not want to hear technical gobblety gook, but CIOs with a track record of innovation that can communicate with business folks are great assets to your organization. Many organizations are giving CIOs a seat at the business table. If you have a CIO that runs an operational utility, maybe you need a new CIO or a digital visionary.
Experiment and Grow:
Find a business visionary below the C-level and let them lead a pet project that can leverage digital capabilities. This is a way to show that digital can add value over time. Innovation can be fostered by trying projects in a "model" way and deliver results that you can build on over time.
The only time cities act to put up new traffic signals is after someone dies. We can't afford this kind of backward thinking in organizations that are trying to survive, thrive and capitalize in today's emerging digital world. There will be more "Ubers" rising