Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Digital-Savvy CIO

A digital-savvy CIO is not single-minded, but has multi-dimensional intelligence.

Modern CIOs face many challenges, it is not sufficient to only keep the light on. Regardless of which industry or the nature of organization you are in, being a digital leader will need to master the art of creating unique and differentiative value from piles of commoditized technologies, but more specifically, what are the digital-savvy CIOs doing to run IT as a value creator and innovation engine?

The digital CIO is an information master: The digital CIO should focus on the information content and context; how that information can be tapped from the underlying data and be utilized to turn it into valuable strategic insight, how the information and insight can be penetrated through the business and be actively used in managing business processes and shaping the business capabilities to execute business strategy solidly. Today, the CIO is not just about managing IT to keep the lights on but is managing the information to enable enterprises to become nimbler and gain a competitive edge, harness innovation catalyzed by IT and lead to business transformation.

The digital CIO is a business conductor: Business has three fundamental pillars: (1) People (2) Process (3) Technology. The role of modern CIO is to identify and blend the ways that information and technology can assist and shape the business by linking all digital aspects together to enforce the value creation; these are then mixed with other ingredients to create products and process which generate differentiated value for their business’s long-term growth, and the term of value can be measurable in dollars, culture, customer satisfaction, quality, etc.

The digital CIO needs to be a governance champion: Because modern CIO is in the unique position to capture the oversight of business processes, projects, tools, cultures, and risk management, with the special lens focused on technology as a key element. Only with effective governance principles and practices, IT-enabled businesses can enforce the value equation, make the business value proposition more resilient and lead continuous improvement and breakthrough because more often than not, technology is the game changer and the information is the lifeblood of digital society.

The digital CIO should be a talent master: The latest digital technologies such as social or mobile provide an abundance of opportunities to engage the digital workforce, empower the talent growth; enable the cross-functional communication and collaboration, and influence on corporation brand and reputation. Hence, modern CIOs need to work closely with talent/performance management, to create a more open, creative and productive working environment and to strengthen the weakest link in strategy execution - PEOPLE. CIOs as tactical IT managers also should develop IT talent pipeline, to bridge the IT/business skill gaps and unleash the potential of IT professionals.

Digital IT is all about the value proposition. At the very least, IT must be a business partner within the organization. A digital CIO has to focus on guiding the company through the digital transformation, and create unique business value because IT is the significant element of any differentiated business capability and the defining factor for competitive advantage.


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