Honoured to be recognised by HP Enterprise as a top Digital Transformation Leader to follow and you can read the full piece on the HP Enterprise website here.
I was inspired to comment about my thoughts on the CIO 2.0 role after reading an excellent article by Michael Krigsman on ZDNet entitled “CIO Survival: Digital mindset and the impact on IT” – click here to read the full article.
Michael does an excellent job of labelling the various components of a digital mindset that every CIO and IT leader must understand (see table copied in below with full original credits to Michael Krigsman).
I’ve long advocated the need for CIO’s to move forward and embrace this ‘new’ CIO 2.0 role to not only increase the value they provide to their organisations but crucially the value they provide to its customers.
The tolerance for old-school CIO’s is diminishing and companies now rightly demand more from the role.
The Oxford Dictionary defines the word ‘disruption’ as a disturbance, or problems that interrupt an event, activity or process. In modern terms, it’s defined more simply as the change that occurs when new digital technologies and business models affect the value proposition of existing goods and services.
The truth is that its mere definition can strike fear and elation into senior executives, depending on which end of the disruption stick they are holding, and break the most confident and entrenched market leaders.
It’s not about being trendy or cool, as these monikers only last for a finite period, but if a new technology or disruptive service hits the market and ticks the boxes of both practicality and price, even the most trusted brands will suffer and their market share ebb away accordingly.
It’s up to organisations to stay sharp and continue to innovate their own products and services, while all the time monitoring emerging technologies to not take their eye off the ball.
Even when taking this in to account, one of the biggest barriers I have seen within large organisations is that even once an external disruptive influence has been identified and a solution defined, time isn’t given to the person or team to implement it properly to stave off the competition.
If you don’t allocate time to these types of employees for such activities, they will quickly migrate to organisations that do or even start their own to compete with you.
The oft-mentioned words of, “it will never catch on” or “we’ve got plenty of time before it claims any serious market share” are immortalised around some of the objects such as the internet and Apple’s iPhone, which we use so readily today. Those now extinct organisations who failed to catch on quickly enough are now only remembered for these ill-timed statements, and the quality of how not to do it case studies at leading business schools.
Companies like Netflix, which owns a large proportion of the streaming market, are savvy enough to know that having initially been key disruptors of their own market, they must constantly innovate and develop new services to maintain, let alone grow, their market position.
Almost all industries are now ripe for disruption, with the position of market leader now somewhat meaningless with the fluidity and emergence of new technology happening almost daily. Even regulated markets such as insurance and financial services are being disrupted, with smaller more agile startups providing meaningful and innovative disruption.
In the current era where the world’s largest taxi firm, Uber, owns no cars, the world’s largest accommodation company, Airbnb, owns no accommodation, and the world’s most valuable retailer, Alibaba, carries no stock, you could say that the commercial vista is unrecognisable from only a few years ago.
We are in a fascinating time where the boundless leaps technology is making, and the complex products and solutions it now allows us to create, are infinite. Far beyond what we could have imagined.
Key to all of this is the rise of consumerisation and the thirst for digital services that make once awkward activities, such as banking and shopping, all capable of being completed without ever leaving your house.
It’s up to organisations to keep pace with these disruptors and emerging technologies, and adapt their products and services accordingly to meet the changing demands and needs of their customers. Those that don’t will be consigned to the past and rightly disrupted by those that can!
This post has also been featured on the HP Business Value Exchange here
Looking forward to working with EMC as a featured panelist on their #EMCDataLake Twitter chat entitled, “Discuss Data Lake & Big Data solutions to support digital transformation with our panel of experts” on December 15th at 1pm GMT.
More information about the event can be found here and you can also take part in the event on CrowdChat by clicking here.
EMC pre-event info: In our upcoming #EMCDataLake Twitter chat, an expert panel from EMC of Suhela Dighe, Dinko Eror, Thor Rabe & Mark Sear with industry expert Christian McMahon (@ChristianMcM) will discuss Data Lake & Big Data solutions to support digital transformation. Join the conversation on December 15 at 1 p.m. GMT on CrowdChat by clicking here.
2014 was another challenging year for the CIO with plenty of column inches given over to debating the control and usage of technology across the enterprise with much speculation about the validity of the role itself.
Personally, I think talk of the demise of the CIO role is presumptuous though what is critical right now is that the CIO role needs to evolve with 2015 being the time to flourish and show their true worth in helping set the strategic direction of their organisation.
The CIO role is like no other in that it allows visibility across the organisation that others rarely get to achieve and those that are commercially astute with a capacity to add tangible value to the business will excel – those who are not will likely be sitting in a different chair at the start of 2016.
As a result of the recent economic turmoil and rapidity of change across the commercial landscape, many organisations are now looking for a different type of CIO or technology leader than they have in the past. They are diluting the need for a more technically focused individual to one who is able to unravel the complexity of IT, increase the accessibility to technology, and be open to new ideas with the ability to work with peers on getting the right things done.
One of the key factors in this evolutionary change in the CIO role is the need to understand and appreciate they no longer have ultimate say over what technologies are used within their organisation but they will still be held accountable for making sure it all works.
Gartner research has shown that 38% of IT spend is already outside of IT and that they expect this to reach 50% by 2017.
This is going to send a shiver down the spine of many a CIO but they must understand the diversification of technology usage and need across their organisation.
This is quite the culture shift for many who have migrated in to the CIO role from the traditional ‘lights on’ IT director role of old but this will make absolute sense for those who have the ability to evolve in to this new model which will free them up to get more involved in defining and executing the ‘big picture’ strategy.
Too long the CIO has been identified as the strategic and commercial weak link in the c-suite and not adding tangible value across the business – they must seize this opportunity to transform their role and reputation in to one that thinks collectively, understanding how best to resolve the issues that matter across the business and ultimately delivering commercial value.
The main theme and focus for many of us this year is that of how to transform in to and drive a digital business.
Naturally this is a hot topic for CIO’s and the challenge of how to implement and transform your business to a digital operating model is now top billing on the agendas of many boardrooms across the globe.
This is exactly where the CIO can step up and work with peers and key stakeholders across the business to define a strategy which is moulded around a ‘customer first’ approach where digital technologies will form the cornerstones of how your services are delivered and consumed going forward.
This will require much managing of change, process, and incumbent technology and possibly need a marked change in strategic direction – a role tailor-made for the commercially astute CIO in harness with the CMO.
The impact of digital business on industries and individual organisations cannot be underestimated and Gartner have predicted that by 2017 one in five industry leaders will have ceded their market dominance to a company founded after 2000.
This is a bold claim but one which I support as no longer can you rely on historical dominance of your sector – either embrace disruption now or start planning your burial in the corporate graveyard alongside luminaries such as Kodak and Blockbusters.
CIO’s must embrace a “Bi-Modal IT” mind-set where they simultaneously embark on the digital transformation journey whilst maintaining Business as Usual (BAU) services.
It’s no secret that the most successful CIO’s are those who are able to run the business and transform it at the same time. Many industry observers and consultants will tell you that they have witnessed more transformation in the last 3 years than in the previous 20 years combined, so this shows how important these skills are in the modern CIO.
I don’t see any lessening in this pace as the demand for new and simpler ways to consume data, information, products and solutions is only going to increase year on year as the technology and accessibility to it improves.
CIO’s will also need to start concentrating on what talent they need to bring in to their organisations this year to manage this “Bi-Modal IT” approach as the market for the best talent is already stretched and growing ever more taut.
CIO’s should help their business colleagues and the CEO think outside the box to imagine new scenarios for digital business that cross companies and industries, providing a great opportunity for CIO’s to amplify their role in the organisation.
Gone are the days where you can supply rigid corporate systems, which are only accessible on site – the corporate world has evolved and everyone wants to consume technology in different ways with previously inaccessible data being lusted after to analyse for new operational and commercial insights.
CIO’s need to help create the right mind-set and a shared understanding among key decision makers in the enterprise – to help them “get” the possibilities of digital business.
They must take a leadership role in helping their organisations change their mind-set to what’s possible – and what’s inevitable in a digital business future.
This should not be done in isolation or be detrimental to any key relationships such as that with the CMO as it’s imperative you work together and deliver the ‘right’ digital strategy for your organisation.
Get yourself in the digital driving seat and don’t become a passenger.
It’s going to be a busy year with a fair amount of turbulence, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Some of the main themes being pushed out by Gartner were:
- The Nexus of Forces: Social, Mobile, Cloud and Information – A nexus of converging forces is building upon and transforming user behaviour while creating new business opportunities
- Master the six essential elements of a digital strategy – 60% of organisations report they have no effective digital strategy. As uncertainty recedes, the digital future emerges
- The function of IT in business is changing and Gartner believes the best way to cope is to establish two-speed IT, where innovation can be separated from operational IT
- Gartner describes three types of IT function: systems of record, systems of differentiation and systems of innovations
- Innovation will require IT to become more agile and work differently, changing your primary suppliers and lots more partnering with smaller, leaner IT companies
- The Internet of Everything – How the Internet of Things is reinventing industries and driving new usage and business models
- CIO’s have to master power, manipulation and warfare – they must become comfortable with the idea of power, gathering it, and using it as an essential leadership tool
- By 2017 smartphones will be smarter than people – not because of intrinsic value but because the cloud and the data stored in the cloud will provide them with the computational ability to make sense of the information they have so they appear smart
There were a couple of things, which caught my eye that I wanted to lift out:
IT Leadership Roles in 2020: The keynote at the Gartner Symposium IT Expo raised a number of interesting points but something that leapt out at me were the references to what IT leadership roles they see will be in play in 2020.
Interestingly and in a different twist to what others are saying, they see the CIO role continuing and the CDO role coming to an end having played its significant part.
They see the CDO role as a transformation and change agent who will lead the digital transformation and implementation of a digital leadership culture within the organisation between now and 2020 before bowing out gracefully with a job well done.
You can view a more in depth piece about this on my blog here.
Who Will Be Your Primary Suppliers in 2017? In confirmation of what I have noticed in recent months is a distinctive trend emerging whereby CIO’s are switching from larger, well-known suppliers to smaller vendors who are leaner and more agile.
This was backed up by the feedback in the sessions and the CIO’s who I spoke with at the Gartner Symposium IT Expo.
This is an interesting and positive trend as it allows the market to thrive with more up and coming vendors allowed to pitch for and win contracts by showing real innovation and enthusiasm to get the job done where they may have previously been frozen out at the RFP stages through staid supply chain processes.
To further highlight this shift, Gartner stated in their keynote session that their recent CIO survey showed that the majority of CIO’s would change their primary suppliers by 2017.
You can view a more in depth piece about this on my blog here.
The Gartner Symposium European IT Expo is a very worthwhile event for CIO’s and IT leaders to attend with excellent networking potential.
Couple this with a great location, excellent local restaurants and warm sun in November and you can see why it’s such a popular event.
This piece has also been posted on:
The Business Value Exchange in my position as CIO ‘Thought Leader’ and Featured Contributor
I fear that the pace of digital and social disruption is catching out a number of CIO’s who aren’t moving at the same pace as their organisations.
Couple this with the naturally accelerated rate of change that is currently rippling through many organisations, and the need for technology to be leveraged to support it is causing CIO’s many a sleepless night.
My advice to them is: don’t make yourself an island.
Don’t retreat in to the abyss of technology and speak only in forked tongues; learn the language of business, get out there and engage with your peers and organisation.
It’s easy to lose track of what the organisation needs and suppose that you have got everything covered including what you think they need.
This is such a dangerous way to think and act, as it shines like a beacon to the rest of the organisation that you aren’t open to communicate with them and understand their pain points.
You will find that if you communicate and work with your peers to understand the issues they face, they will be more open to discussing with you the best ways you can leverage technology to help them.
Better still, you can work together and start to pick these things up before they become issues and deliver real innovation and value across your organisation.
If you find that you are making yourself an island, nip it in the bud as quickly as you can as the truth of the matter is that others in the organisation will have noticed it long before you do.
This could mean that you have an increasing shadow IT problem as others in your organisation have gone out and gotten their own solutions rather than through your organisation or involving you.
Don’t continue to resist change as the current digital and social disruption means that change is inevitable.
Those that resist it will be left behind pretty quickly and as the CIO you really cannot afford that to happen as your organisation will quickly find someone else who will engage.
Better still, you may find that you really enjoy it and as they say, change really is as good as a rest.
This piece has also been posted here on the Samsung Business site
In recent months I have noticed a distinctive trend emerging whereby CIO’s are switching from larger, well-known suppliers to smaller vendors who are leaner and more agile.
This has been backed up by the feedback in the sessions and the CIO’s who I have spoken with here this week in Barcelona at the Gartner Symposium IT Expo.
This is an interesting and positive trend as it allows the market to thrive with more up and coming vendors allowed to pitch for and win contracts by showing real innovation and enthusiasm to get the job done where they may have previously been frozen out at the RFP stages.
Gartner themselves stated in their keynote session that their recent CIO survey showed that the majority of CIO’s will change their primary suppliers by 2017.
Could new entrants like Samsung muscle their way on to your list of primary suppliers? Their launch this week in to the B2B market makes them a credible player.
What does this mean for established suppliers? Basically it means they need to be less complacent and engage better with their clients and not just around the times of contract renewal.
It shouldn’t mean they try to shortcut this process and just go out and buy a crop of these bright young new vendors, far from it. They would be better served in studying why they are winning business away from them and looking to instil that hunger and innovation back in to their product offerings and services.
I know they will say that due their size and complexity of contracts etc. this will be difficult but innovation and enthusiasm are contagious and adding those to anything at any level will only give everyone a boost.
I have even heard of some companies looking in to gamification techniques and the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage people in solving problems.
This may be a bit bleeding edge for some but it really highlights what digital and its associated disruption is bringing to the market with the amount of new technology and value added services it offers.
With the introduction of digital and other disruptive technologies, CIO’s are now faced with more requests from the business to leverage technology than ever before, often wanting to do it themselves within their own business units.
The smaller, leaner and more agile vendors are able to seize upon this and bring to the market services and solutions which you can get up and running in less than half the time your previous vendors take to do something along with significantly faster versioning and the addition of new features.
It’s an interesting marketplace and never before have I seen such a seismic shift in the way that organisations are being disrupted.
The better-organised organisations that are more agile and quicker to adopt will thrive in this new world and so they should.
This piece has also been posted here on the Samsung Business site