In many digital transformation stories, it's the IT organization that lays the foundation for change. After all, you are moving from manual processes to digital ones. You are changing your customer-facing organization to one that includes a digital model, too. Digital operations are the underpinning of the IT organization. Your IT leaders are your experts in technology.
But for some organizations, the move from the old way of doing things to the new way of doing them may be faster and more revolutionary if you bring a new set of eyes and ideas to the challenge. IT can be heavily focused on providing help desk services and maintenance, so maybe it's a stretch to ask some organizations like that to lead a transformation that's changing the way business is done. In those cases, it may make sense to take a different road to digitalization.
That's just what $1.73 billion family-owned, privately held bakery ingredient food distributor Dawn Foods did when the Jackson, Michigan-based company decided the path to the future could be upgraded to a high-speed road if the company hired a chief digital officer to focus on an ecommerce project and fund a team to get the job done.
In Dawn Food's case that chief digital officer is Bob Howland, a Boston-based tech and business pro who had led similar initiatives for a series of companies over the years. Howland officially joined Dawn Foods in February 2019, hired by an executive team that he said had decided to pivot from a traditional way of taking orders -- sales reps visiting bakeries -- to something more akin to how ecommerce customers place orders today.
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