Thursday, June 15, 2017

Digital CIOs as Business Strategists and Artistic Technologists

Digital CIOs today must step out of the technology box, and get to know more about the business, customers, digital ecosystems, with aesthetic taste to run IT as an innovation hub.

At the industrial age, CIOs are often perceived as the technology geek or the back office technician to keep the lights on, and most IT organizations are struggling to align with the business, get stuck at the lower level of maturity for keeping things functioning. Nowadays, lightweight digital technologies become more mature, IT is striving to integrate with the business, and IT has to move up its maturity from functioning to firm to delight. Thus, digital CIOs need to be the business strategist and artistic technologist for running high-innovative, high-performance, and high-mature digital organization.  

Digital IT is intuitive to delight customers; it’s the piece of art made via scientific engineering practices: Technology is complex, but digital technology is also intuitive, hide its complexity from customers, and it is the piece of art created via practicing scientific engineering disciplines. IT also shifts from a monolithic hardware oriented support center to a mosaic information-driven innovation hub. Digital CIOs are expected to constantly propose new ideas and challenging the status quo, they are no longer the stereotypical IT geeks who only have experience with IT, more often than not, they have the variety of experiences both at IT and the business side, with cross-functional expertise. To digitize and speed up IT, the CIO should look to businesses outside their industry to spur the out-of-the-box thinking and dot-connecting innovation. Companies need to invest in IT necessary to make the business advances through either incremental or radical innovation! Digital CIOs are artistic technologists who become the bridge between art and science, business and engineering. Digital is the age of customers, customer satisfaction is a crucial area ripe for innovation. The more customer-facing the innovation, the higher the customer satisfaction would become. Although the two concepts-innovation and customer satisfaction are not linked automatically, if customer centricity drives the innovation/innovative process there should be a clear impact and it should be measurable.

Digital IT is “softer” to keep information flow, knowledge flow, idea flow, and business flow: Information Management is all about having the right people to have the right information to make right decisions at the right time. Given this assertion, there is no limit to the value of information in our economy or better stated, in today’s digital business ecosystem. Digital IT becomes “softer,” the role of the digital CIO is to leverage the power of information to drive the corporate vision and strategy through effectiveness and innovation in the knowledge and information channels. The CIO as the business strategist has to look forward and actively position the business in the right place to take full advantage of opportunities and prevent potential risks. The “I” driven IT is fluid but more powerful, to focus on improvement, innovation, and insight capturing. And the art of IT is to solve the information puzzles and create value for the business’s growth and maturity.

Digital CIOs as artistic technologists who can orchestrate innovation into differentiated business competency: The art of innovation is that it involves new ways of bringing together ideas and resources to create something novel. The CIO could be the perfect role in helping to manage innovation with disciplines and the right tools (such as collaborative platform, analytics tools., etc) at the organizational scope because IT is in a unique position to oversee the business processes. And CIO is also in a unique position to align processes, technologies, and people, from generating ideas on applying technologies and data assets to drive value, the oversight is needed in managing innovation lifecycle. The depth and breadth understanding of the digital ecosystem would help to connect nonlinear dots to a better probability of innovation. Innovation, as an individual process or collective processes, helps us adapt, improve, grow and integrate.  

The digital CIOs is not the tedious management role to keep the lights only. There’re many key traits in digital CIO leadership, there’re many talents in modern CIOs, there’re many capabilities CIOs should cultivate, and the most important thing is, digital CIOs today must step out of the technology box, and get to know more about the business, customers, digital ecosystems, with aesthetic taste to run IT as an innovation hub and digital transformer of the business.  



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