CFOs And The Digital Imperative
Does the outrageous success of a single company prove the critical nature of digitalization? To find out,
Jack is a Senior Contributor to Forbes CFO Network. An excerpt is below.
Since the start of the pandemic, I have been preaching that embracing a digitalization strategy is crucial for the survival of most companies. History has taught us that during times of crisis, the companies that continue to look forward, to innovate, and to invest in their own futures are the ones that will emerge stronger and more stable. Those that cut expenses and roll up into a metaphorical fetal ball are doomed to not survive. Now is the time to “flex your muscles” and invest in your team and technology.
Organizations that fail to embrace digitalization are unlikely to survive. This effort should be led by the CFO and his or her team, working with CIOs, CSOs and their teams. It should be embraced enterprise wide and have the full support of the CEO and the board of directors. The unfortunate truth is that most digitalization efforts do not realize their full potential, but if leadership is fully invested, a robust effort can lead to startling success. It starts at the top.
One company I often cite as having been saved through a digitalization strategy is the global pizza chain, Domino’s. Here is a surprising and little known fact: Since 2010, Domino’s stock has outperformed that of Amazon, Apple, Facebook or Google. While the obvious explanation is that Domino’s improved its product—which it certainly did—that is not the sole reason. The real advantage Domino’s had was a willingness to embrace technology and use it as a competitive advantage. For example, in 2008 the company developed a “Pizza Tracker,” which enabled customers to track their delivery online. While this seems like a simple technology today, Domino’s was an early adopter. They were also the first restaurant chain to have an iPhone app, creating a huge competitive advantage. By the end of 2011, more than a quarter of Domino’s sales were sold over the internet or via an app. Again, while today this is commonplace for restaurants with delivery service, in 2011 it took, foresight and imagination, not to mention a high tolerance for risk. In 2018, they became the first pizza delivery company to deliver pizza by drone. Drones! There are many reasons the company has held its leadership position, none bigger than its willingness to embrace technology.
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About Jack McCullough
Jack McCullough is a recognized thought leader in the field of financial leadership, with a career that has included CFO positions at 26 companies. He founded the CFO Leadership Council, a global organization dedicated to empowering senior financial executives through innovative professional development programs and peer networking. His other accomplishments include chairing the MIT Sloan CFO Summit, and creating the vision behind CFO Week, a one-of-a-kind learning and networking experience jointly executed by the CFO Leadership Council and MIT Sloan. He is a contributor to Forbes.com, where he writes for the CFO Network on challenges and opportunities facing financial leaders. He is an entertaining and insightful public speaker, and has spoken to thousands of CFOs, and is frequently contacted by members of the media who appreciate his candor, insight and wit.
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