Interview with Mirza Ashraf Beg

After 2020 being a roller coaster ride for everyone, what do you think is now the role of the Chief Digital Officer in an organization?

Well, I have a little different perspective on the role of CDOs, it will more likely going to last for few more years in legacy corporates, but others will have temporary and transitional position. The CDO will serve as a strong motivation and a change manager with a clear vision, and transforms a traditional, cumbersome company into a dynamic and agile organization. The need for a CDO diminishes with digital maturity: once he has induced a culture change in the organization truly, his position becomes obsolete.
After the disappearance of the CDO, the entire C-suite will become responsible for the challenges of digitalization.

Moreever, any Digital expert in the role of CDO will require excellent skills in innovation journey, profound business knowledge: an insider and cost effective technology implementation expert. Legacy CIOs alone will be unable to develop futuristic innovative models holding lower capex. Many organizations still buying software and depending on inhouse development which will mount them to big operational failures when their counterparts enjoying SaaS and cloud-basedcomputing technologies.

What is it that organizations are lacking in their digital transformation journey and why?

Every industry has its own paradox of competing challenges within organization and outside window dressing to match the agility of industry wide phenomena. The biggest challenge in this is right mix and hastily done technology corrections will definitely emerge with more defective output in short term, rather floating with guided precedence.
Other main challenges are:

Aging Legacy:
The major challenge is a cultural shift and adoption of RPA based digitization where aging legacy will hinder in the pace of implementation of the ideal technologies and continue to remain humanized based operation and sticking to their old class of rules and bright employees will have to lose jobs even in the environments depiction as a whole will look like enabling & favorable towards digitization. However, this will beginorganizational sustainability issue in very few years as competitive disadvantages will come to the table of management and old school employees will be replaced with new technical devices, all repetitive operational human works in any organization will be digitized either by choice or compelled by external competitive pressure industry wide.


Another challenging factor business leaders’ point to that’s driving their tech investments right now, it’s cash. Some projects were shelved if they weren’talready far enough along, or if they required too much capital or time-to-value as businesses pinch pennies in the COVID fallout.
Which means if a company is launching a new tech solution that isn’t essential for its immediate survival, it’s getting scrutinized. The company’s original digital transformation plan might have allowed three years for an AI project to pay for itself. That’s a wait that company leadership might find unacceptable now.
Companies lacked the time to thoroughly vet and test new solutions they needed to keep their businesses running during COVID. In some cases, they bought solutions they might not have otherwise because they were easier to implement or less expensive, like enterprise collaboration apps that lack the full range of functions or security measures they need. Many of those new pieces will have a place in the company’s long-term tech stack. Some won’t.

Consultants Retrospection:

Lastly, I can say that many organizational defeats are due to high spending and reliance on consultants, every organization thinks while hiring any of the big names that now the solution have arrived without digging deep dive with insider’s ability and revamping possibilities.
Change always come from inside not an outsider imposition ideally. How ability of any consultant is evaluated in a humpy span of time where transition is itself going through catalyst phase, “change & time” for optimal results is yet to decide and what suits who is yet to build.

Harvard Business Review published a recent survey of directors, CEOs, and senior executives found that digital transformation (DT) risk is their #1 concern in 2019/20. Yet 70% of all DT initiatives do not reach their goals. Of the $1.3 trillion that was spent on DT last year, it was estimated that $900 billion went to waste. Why do some DT efforts succeed and others fail? Though all have hired good consultants.

What is your ideal Digital Growth Vision for the Next 5 Years?

As discussed in previous question I have said that sooner or later all repetitive operational human works in any organization will be digitized either by choice or compelled by external competitive pressure industry wide. IoT, RPA, AI Blockchain, Cloud based data computation, business consortiums, SaaS, value based technical skill upgrade and new changes should match the pace of its development span are the real future in coming 5 years.

How valuable was data in 2020, and how will data impact your 2021 strategy?

Data is always valuable and future of any digital transformation across industries depends on what response any organization have for data science developments. This trend of integrating data into the core business processes has grown significantly, with an increase by over four times in the past 5 years, according to Google Search Trends.
Over the years that Data Science has grown from a niche to its own full-on field, the data available for analysis has also exploded in size. Organizations are collecting and storing more data than ever before.
In fact, Data is giving companies a sharp advantage over their competitors, therefore Cloud Computing is the essential requirement for any organization, everything from data to processing power is growing. As Data Science matures, we might eventually fix this through Data Science being done purely on the cloud due to the sheer volume of the data, enabling organizations to save huge money on physical servers and their contingency plans.

How do you think attendees will benefit by attending the MENA CDO Connect 2021?

MENA CDO Connect 2021 willdefinitely benefit attendees in a larger perspective and offer some of the best opportunities to experience the most forward-thinking personalities and cutting-edge ideas in technology and data science fields.
Here’s what makes this event uniquely useful: Visionaries and Up-to-Date Material, Opportunities to Network, Ways to Meet Personal or Business Development Goals, Deeper Understanding of an Industry That’s Shaping the Future.

Biggest take from this event will be commitment towards empowereveryone and everything in the organization to leverage data and analytics in order to optimize every decision, every process and every action, and this will help attendees to overcome data and analytics complexity and ambiguity to drive a business value analogy in larger sphere of their shops.