What Does Successful Digital Business Innovation Look Like?

Florian Wagner

As much as it is important for CIOs to develop a road map for digital business innovation, as certain stages are important precursors for others, it is also essential to understand that a number of key success factors accelerate the maturity curve, while many common pitfalls stall progress. CIOs need to understand their organization’s unique maturity model and take an active role in managing it.

Businesses typically evolve through three digital business innovation maturity stages – from engaging in digital transformation through executing on digital transformation to achieving digital transformation. Progressing through these developmental steps moves an organization along the path towards success.

As digital business leadership starts delivering the IT operational and innovation model transformations enterprise-wide, the organization’s ability to deliver on the digital strategy matures. As the IT team engages in the multi-pillared work of digital transformation, they learn to execute on the transformations themselves, eventually allowing the CIO to shift toward a much more strategic role in developing and collaboratively delivering on digital transformation initiatives across the enterprise. These initiatives often start with smaller innovation pilots that grow, shepherded by a visionary leader. We find this to be particularly true in large, conservative, and established clients such as large aerospace vendors.

Given the critical and urgent need for digital business innovation leadership, it is imperative that the CIO understand exactly where they are on the digital business innovation maturity ladder. Understanding the current state and next steps will give the CIO the context and the confidence to deliver on the organization’s digital business strategy.

Next steps

  1. Assess maturity across the five digital business innovation elements to identify your starting points
  1. Build a deliverable road map of next steps toward digital business innovation success using a consistent framework across all of the relevant business units
  1. Establish the terms, definitions, and governance of your digital strategy and your business and technical requirements
  1. Clarify all of the business implications caused by technological and/or environmental changes
  1. Reduce risk by clearly mapping connections between strategy and operations as well as between business entities that might otherwise be siloed

Learn more about how CIOs can become digital solution innovators.


Florian Wagner

About Florian Wagner

Florian Wagner is marketing director for IT audience messaging at SAP. Together with his team, he is responsible to address the IT audience and to drive relevant thought leadership topics. He writes about technology trends on digital transformation, cloud and platform strategies with a focus on customer experiences.