Thursday, June 21, 2018

Three Concentrations of Digital CIOs

The digital world is so data-driven and information-intensive, there are so many distractions these days, digital CIOs need to concentrate things really matter.

Digital IT is a paradigm shift in role, responsibility, and attitude. IT plays a crucial role in leading the digital transformation of the business. Your goals and objectives will be your drivers. IT needs to play different roles in the situation at hand, but also should stay focus on the most important things to ensure IT is value-added and become the strategic partner of the business.

The digital CIO’s concentration should be on what these technologies can do for the businesses, not on the technology itself: A highly effective CIO’s job is to optimize the business operations to reduce the burden on the company while trying to stay current with ever-changing technologies. That includes improving systems, streamlining processes, reducing cost, and providing continually expanding services/solutions. Running digital IT doesn’t just mean to play fancy technology gadgets or overcome technical challenges only. It means how to leverage the emerging digital technologies for solving both existing or emerging critical business problems. Digital CIOs’ concentration is on top-line business value creation, growth, profitability, and customer-centricity. Ask users, customers, and different stakeholders what their expectations are of you, and whether or not you meet those expectations. With digital hyperconnectivity, CIOs need to become business leaders to work within IT and across the business scope and seek ways to grow business revenue and spur innovation. That’s a completely different mindset than managing technology only.

The digital CIO’s concentration shifts from “T” centric to “I” - Information-driven: The dawn of the digital era is all about the exponential growth of information and how information-related outcomes getting achieved. From a noble business purpose perspective, information management can make a significant effect on multi-faceted aspects of the business; provide ways to better recognize and act on that information for competitive advantage. Information from IT perspective is really data following a managed process. While a lot of information may be kept, IT does not add value by simply storing, maintaining, and securing information. Information Management is the systematic selection, transformation, and presentation of data through technological and quantitative processes with algorithmic and engineering method to automate and support the business decision. At the age of IT consumerization, businesses need to understand not only the power and the opportunity information could bring in, but also the potential risks they might get exposed to. The true magic is when IT helps to harness and understand that information. Part of the digital CIO’s role is to structure information in a way that it can be used to build the trust and improve business effectiveness.

The CIO’s concentration should be on innovation - to manage a balanced portfolio with both incremental and breakthrough innovation: The emergent digital technologies and tools provide the business with new opportunities to reimagine the future of businesses. Leading only with operational consideration is not the way forward. Digital IT success needs to be accompanied by working with business partners to inspire creativity, and leverage opportunities for changing how the business competes in the marketplace. A great CIO with their finger on the pulse of technological advancement or information insight can provide many ideas on how new technology and abundance of information can create fresh new opportunities. Being innovative or close is being able to think and create new things based on its own needs, and there is a recognizable core of approaches that produce profitable innovation. Running a highly innovative IT organization means IT can be used as a tool, enabler, catalyzer, and a digital platform to orchestrate change and facilitate idea creation and implementation, meet the ultimate goal of an organization's short/medium/long-term strategic plans.

The digital world is so data-driven and information-intensive, technology needs will only expand, and most likely expand hyperbolically. The faster the top leadership team understands that IT is not just technical, but rather business-driven, the highly visible IT can elevate its maturity from “reactive to change” to proactively driving business transformations. There are so many distractions these days, digital CIOs need to concentrate things really matter. IT needs to be understood and harnessed by all stakeholders to fulfill its potential and strategic importance as a differentiator of companies.


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