Elisabeth Moreno, CEO of Lenovo, has accepted to share her point of view on digitalisation and adopting digital tools at the executive management level.
She also explains the importance of acting now for fellow managers and women in managerial positions to fully master digital technology.
Sherpany: It is important to have a devoted leader to spearhead the digital transformation. According to you, what are the five major priorities that CEOs must bear in mind when working on digital transformation trends?
Elisabeth Moreno: The CEO’s role is fundamental in supporting any transformation within a company. He/she will give the vision, signal the direction of the potential change and get his/her teams involved in the action. The CEO’s personal involvement is, therefore, essential. In this new digital revolution era that has such an impact on our way of living, I see five priorities for the CEO:
Sherpany: A recent conference entitled “Digital transformation, innovation and diversity” was held, which focused on the topic of digital transformation. It presented women working in companies as being levers in their organisations’ digital transformation process. What are your thoughts on this perspective?
Elisabeth Moreno: First, remember that one in two men is a woman! Second, let us consider that women use technology as much as men, whether it is in a personal or professional capacity. In an extremely competitive global environment, it would be ridiculous to use only 50% of the talents at our disposal.
Furthermore, technologies offer numerous opportunities for women to develop personally and to succeed: this is a point that needs to be considered seriously, especially at the start of one’s career. The new technologies sector is the branch with the highest recruitment and innovation rate. Finally, we often forget that it was a woman who invented Wi-Fi and that one of the first coders in the world, Ada Lovelace, was a woman. Women have taken a back seat in this technological world that is considered masculine. But, the time is more than ripe for women to dare take their place and express their values.
Sherpany: A generic analysis by the Harvard Business Review (HBR) revealed that “mastering digital technology helps women find jobs and obtain higher levels of education, and that it is increasingly important to help women progress at work”. In referring to the environment of French companies, how do you see the reality today? What means are in place for women to progress in their careers, or even hold managerial positions through digital technology?
Elisabeth Moreno: Diversity or male-female parity presupposes equal responsibilities and remuneration for the same post, which includes the same skills. Obviously, mastering digital technology is a factor for women to progress in their careers. These tools are in essence, means. It is up to each and every one to use them wisely. We are fortunate to live in a country in which we have access to all the freedoms: to study, work, get training, travel, choose our profession, etc. These simple things are not possible everywhere. Let’s make the most of it because, beyond the assistance and regulation, it is our motivation and our determination that will make the difference.
Sherpany: Male-female parity has made significant inroads in boardrooms thanks to the Copé-Zimmerman law, which was adopted in 2011. Today, we have started talking about quotas in executive committees. What are your thoughts on extending quotas to the executive bodies of companies for greater male-female parity?
Elisabeth Moreno: It seems to me that a company has everything to gain from resembling its customers. In our case, our customers, they encompass the entire population that can connect for personal or professional reasons. You have, therefore, as many men as women. In this regard, we have a strong diversity policy and in our executive committee in France, for example, there is almost a balance between the number of men and women who make the committee up, and this, without any quotas, but based solely on proven ability, results and efficiency.
Sherpany: As a software publisher for managing meetings for managers, board members and general secretaries, we have noticed that management teams that adopt digital tools tend to get better results in their digital transformation projects. Can you confirm this? How does this apply to management teams in France?
Sherpany: Studies show that France is one of the countries working to advance digital transformation. However, things are still advancing slowly at the top of companies’ executive management. Do you share this opinion? What do you think are the areas for improvement for digital technology to advance in companies?
Elisabeth Moreno: When I discuss with our clients, partners, or when I participate at different conferences, I see a clear improvement in digital technology being adopted at all levels of the company. In my opinion, training and education are the first components, whether you are a student, starting your career or managing a company or a department.
It is constant training and adapting to new digital tools, as well as, understanding the benefits that they offer that allows you to progress and be more efficient in your post, as well as, for the company to progress and to transform digitally from the inside. And I am pleased to see France investing in this field. The United States has its GAFAM, Asia its BATX; in Europe and France, we have talents and expertise to make our contribution.
And it is never too late. In fact, it is about time!