How can you, as CIO or IT manager, leverage digital transformation in your own career? Here are four essential pointers.
The role of the CIO has been changing steadily for years. Long gone are the days of being purely responsive – when it was your job to simply answer already-formulated technical problems that business leaders thought might solve their challenges. Nowadays you’re a formulator too – a strategist at the most senior levels.
This is a natural side-effect of the increasing importance of digital. Whereas information technology used to be seen as something that supported business processes, it’s now recognised as something that drives business strategy forwards.
Indeed, over 60% of global GDP will be digitised by 2022, and growth across every industry will be driven by digitally-enhanced offerings, operations and relationships.
As CIO, your role has been dragged further and further to the strategic forefront. You’re essentially a business co-creator.
You sit at the highest levels of management – or, at least, ought to – and you actively contribute to the strategic conversation around business growth.
Digital transformation – a strategic decision
It’s a fact that IT leaders at organisations with advanced digital transformation programmes are over six times more likely to be involved in helping develop overall business strategy, than at those running on legacy infrastructure (60% versus 9%).
Modern CIOs are uniquely steeped in what drives business strategy today. Agile practices, design thinking, customer experience, effective supply chain management, internet-of-things applications, the list goes on.
And as a co-creator, you also have to know what the competition is doing, so you can quickly assess opportunities and identify how to disrupt the market – before the market gets disrupted.
4 essential steps to success
To achieve and maintain your level of relevance as a CIO, you can’t sit still. There are four essential steps you need to take to guarantee your place at the strategic heart of your business.
Identify exactly where you can create value
As we’re swept forward on a wave of all-new technologies, it can be easy to lose focus. The latest innovations – including cloud, artificial intelligence, internet of things, 5G, and more – can create value in an infinite number of ways. Yet, as CIO, your primary focus should be how you can harness the value of information to add value in the context of your own market or operations.
Yes, that involves innovative thinking, and yes, you should still question everything. But, primarily, you should look at the smaller, incremental wins. How can new technology help you move forward and add value, even in small ways, while also delivering the potential agility for more dramatic digital transformation?
Define your overall technology growth plan
As CIO, you should be responsible for the overall strategic technology vision – both its definition and relentless, ongoing reassessment. How will today’s technology infrastructure help you support your overall business strategy for tomorrow? What opportunities exist in the market, or in your operations, and what technologies do you need to achieve them?
You need to have a technology plan to support growth, developed in close co-ordination with your CEO, and you need to be ready to re-write that plan at any time. Key areas of focus are how you strengthen the customer experience, how you automate and optimise core business functions, and how you can use analytics to achieve both those goals.
Step up and provide strategic leadership
This modern, co-creator CIO role requires that you provide genuine leadership. It’s not just about delivering the right technology but about creating the right organisational structures and attitudes. You need to get everyone working as one, enabled by the right tools – cloud-based collaboration, for example – and supported by the right people.
Provide the right technology
The final step is actually delivering the right technology to bring your commercial proposition to life and to enable the collaborative culture that you need. With the wide variety of technology available, and the need for rapid innovation and growth, it’s imperative that you set up systems that enable high levels of agility.
Needless to say, cloud is the way forward
And a key collaboration tool in your company is your PBX system. A modern, cloud-based PBX is fundamental for enabling productivity, and bringing your business into the future.
Photo: #WOCinTech Chat