The future of CIO and IT is to be the Business
Digital transformation embodies the proposal that in the end every company will be a technology company and this change is challenging for IT and CIOs. To keep up with this process, technology managers need to take more risks, take a more entrepreneurial stance, and start offering an IT-focused more outward than inward. There are barriers, many of them cultural, as, amazingly, many companies and CIOs still see the delivery of operating results as the main responsibility of IT. Softech Bharat is the best information technology services company based in India.
This scenario, still quite common, is a symptom that many business executives, such as CEOs, continue to see IT more as an operation and not as the natural choice to promote innovation in their companies. As a result, CIOs, despite stating in research and conversations that innovation is their strategic priority, they see little involved with it.
This makes it clear that for a very significant portion of the business world, IT is still looked at operationally, with a short-term vision. Besides, many IT areas are not instrumented for digital transformation. We have been proving, by experiences with various CIOs, that many of them suffer from the perception that in their companies IT is still seen as operational, not being called to contribute strategically to the differentiation of the business. There are a few cases where IT defines the business strategy together. Few organizations whose IT responds to the CEO. Very few are the ones that the CIO has on its board of directors.
This is an interesting point. We agree that IT generally permeates the strategies of all areas of a company, but we see very few IT executives being on the boards. We still see many CIOs do their PDTI (Information Technology Master Plan!), a posteriori of the strategic definitions. Hence the paradox: contradictions between the growing importance of technology for companies and IT still being seen as operational and not as a lever for technological innovations. The contradiction is clear when we understand that the process of digital transformation naturally implies that IT becomes the business, which contradicts the scenario of companies whose CIOs are kept at a distance, taking care of the operation, with a clear distinction between IT and the business.
Unfortunately for them, the process of digital transformation is inexorable and the changes will be continuous. In today's hyper-connected world, the speeds of responding to market demands and the use of technology as a natural and integral part of the company's processes and products are nothing more than obligation, natural, and expected by customers.
You need to reverse the current operational IT scenario. Digital transformation does not wait for the retards. What can CIOs in this situation do? If they continue to keep their meager innovation initiatives in line with minimal IT projects, they will simply never take priority. It is enough to see that many companies, given the adverse economic scenario, immediately cancel their innovation actions. "This is not the time. Let's hope the situation improves!".
"To here is the changes of improveness is the new approach to be information technology(IT)". IT is no longer an operational sector that accelerates existing processes, as it was in the 80s, 90s, and 2000s, and has still been in many companies. Now it should be fully integrated into the business. The business no longer exists without digital technology. Without the "new IT", the doors do not open, the planes do not fly, the queues accumulate and you can not even get a coffee.
Its new priorities, therefore, should be: Passing on lower value-added activities to business partners, reducing their involvement in operational issues, freeing up more time to interact with business executives, simplifying their operation, and embedding new technological concepts like the natural and primordial basis of their new projects. The CIO needs to transmute into solution orchestrators, leading and driving digital transformation in close collaboration with its CEOs and other C-levels.
That's not enough to want it. It should create and disseminate the culture of innovation in the IT area, even including a significant adjustment in its mission. Curious, that few IT areas have a well-defined mission. In fact, as a reference suggestion, a mission of an IT area I saw some time ago abroad: "Our mission is to transform technology to be the enabler of brand differentiation". How about inspiring you to create your IT mission?
The CIO must assume an evangelizing stance, showing its visionary side and how these visions will contribute to the business, and may influence the company's strategy. To be more listened to, you should have IT implement solutions that are as close as possible to where the company's revenue generation takes place. It is essential to break the traditional barrier of "IT and business", changing to "IT is the business". IT must assume a "digital spirit", which is to think and act as a digital company, not as a bureaucratic department, extremely concerned with adherence to compliance rules and reluctant to innovate. The new IT model requires much more risk tolerance and adoption of concepts such as "fail fast, learn fast", today a heresy in the thinking of many IT professionals and executives.
The CIO must take strategic leadership's role in this digital transformation process. The risk of not doing so is losing its relevance in the corporation. How to do it? Focus on the digital ecosystem, becoming the main influencer of digital transformation in your company. Shift your focus from 80% of the time dedicated to technical issues and meetings with 80% technology suppliers dedicated to thinking and implementing digital strategies with the business. Provide the vision of the future and innovate in the way how to make this vision of the future come true. For example, to what extent does it justify maintaining servers indoors in a scenario of extremely fast and agile demands, with offers from first-rate cloud providers? To what extent does it justify an attachment to development and operation processes based on methods created 20 years ago? To what extent does it justify the luxury of not exploring the true ocean of data that exists in the company, spread across dozens of applications, email systems, conversations with the call center, and even interactions on social media? There is no excess of data in companies, there is a shortage of algorithms! To what extent does it justify not having a true 360° view of your customers? To what extent does it justify the low intensity of the exploitation of mobility and agility in business processes?
This change of mindset requires changes in attitudes. More communication, more interaction with business executives, less technological hermeticism, more time spent on events and contacts in your industry sector, and less with IT vendors.
It also involves looking at and managing IT as a business, making it not only a means of transforming its processes with automation but changing the business itself, with transformative initiatives. Within 5 years, virtually all companies will be transformed by the exponential advance of technology, many of them considered science fiction today. So the message is short, simple, and clear: the future of the CIO and IT is to be the business.