Forrester held its European Business Technology Forum in London this week — a convocation of CIOs, Enterprise Architects, Infrastructure and Operations Professionals, Security and Risk Professionals, and Sourcing and Vendor Management Professionals. Lots of great connections were made in London, as per the pic on the left. On Monday night I hosted a working dinner for 20 executives — a very lively group from BASF, Tetra Pak, Unilever, KLM, Bayer, the WTO, and other large European companies. What’s very much on the minds of these BT execs is how to position their companies to be more digital. And when they use the term “digital” they mean, “Using technology to win customers.”

So over dinner we worked on a simple question: “What are the top 10 things a CEO should do to ensure that his or her company can successfully become digital?” Here’s the best thinking that the group could muster after much good food, wine, humor, and fun. I have built in some links to relevant Forrester thinking…

  1. Clearly define who owns digital. Clean up the organizational confusion.
  2. Create the business case for digital. Show how it increases revenue or increases profit (or both).
  3. If you can’t understand the new world of digital, fire yourself.
  4. Build an executive team that is digital first (when problems arise, the first solution is always digital).
  5. Build an executive team that is mobile first (when linking to customers, the first alternative is always mobile).
  6. Make sure there is a techie on the board of directors. If the board has a low digital IQ, the company will have a low digital IQ.
  7. Go to Silicon Valley once per year and talk to the disrupters. Understand their modus operandi and their methods.
  8. Don’t block Facebook, Twitter and other social sites within the company. Make a point of attracting digital natives into the organization.
  9. Require that every business function and system in the company is always available on any device at any time.
  10. Figure out where the business will be most disrupted, and send the digital troops there. Don’t spread them everywhere — go where the fight is.