Taking the example of Apple, which successfully reinvented itself and redefined the consumer customer experience, how many companies disappeared or have been absorbed for not having been able to evolve quickly enough?
Today all companies are forced to imagine and implement new business models to cope with the entry of new competitors. They need to better meet customer expectations or simply reduce costs.
In this context, CIOs have a great opportunity as they are better equipped to understand the technology and its implications on business processes. They can help other departments of the company to understand the profound changes caused by new technologies and ensure that CIOs do not only perfectly support the business but instead play a leading role in driving growth strategy.
In a post published in the Wall Street Journal blog, the journalist asked Filippo Passerini, Procter & Gamble CIO, his view regarding the evolving role of the CIO in the recent years. Passerini says that among all the members of the Executive Committee the gap between traditional and progressive CIOs is probably more important than for any other leader of the company. When asked “what sort of profile and skill set does a CIO need to be successful?” he states “I believe it’s less about technology, and much more about being a business person with an interest in technology.”
This shows that it has become imperative to put business concerns at the heart of IT issues. It was probably already the case for the last 10 or 20 years, but never with such a sense of urgency or with such clarity.
I speak of urgency, as in many companies, CIOs still suffer from an image problem and are often perceived as obstacles to change. They also observed significant portions of their investment budgets taken away by business and marketing leaders, who pushed for an early adoption of SAAS and cloud solutions.
In this context, the digital transformation may be the last opportunity for the CIO to reposition itself as a key player in this revolution. He must not only explain how current technologies can support CEO’s vision and objectives, but also demonstrate that he is able to manage and implement successfully this type of projects while managing the associated risks. Only then he will be able to leverage the current digital transformation to regain the influence he lost in recent years.
This is easier said than done because when driving digital transformation projects, CIOs face multiple challenges, but this will be the subject of future posts.