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Dealing with the digital enterprise land grab

Dealing with the digital enterprise land grab

Being a digital leader means more than just a change in job title, writes Kevin Noonan of Ovum.

Since the creation of the CIO function more than two decades ago, the role has continued to be a topic of much commentary and debate. Early predictions of its demise turned out to be unfounded, as the CIO role has continued to be remarkably resilient. However, as momentum for the digital enterprise continues to gather pace, there is growing speculation that the use-by date for the CIO role may have finally arrived.

The future role of the CIO is a far more complex issue, and it would be unreasonable to typecast CIOs as technocrats. Indeed, some CIOs are already leading the charge for digital reform, drawing on their well-honed skills of persuasion and negotiation, as well as their pragmatic understanding of internal processes.

Real world organisations are complex entities and a change of job titles will not by itself ensure success. A successful digital strategy will need to reach deep into the organisation and must challenge some long-held ideas about reform and best practice service delivery. Any manager who takes on the role must clearly understand the magnitude of the task ahead.

The digital enterprise is part of one of the big social realignments of our time

It would be easy to underestimate the far-reaching implications of the digital enterprise, or to simply write it off as no more than a continuation of earlier online initiatives, based on 20th century thinking.

Charles Darwin would have been pleased at the prospect of having his 19th century theories of evolution applied to 21st century digital enterprises.

Something quite fundamental has changed, and this time it is the community itself that is driving the need for change. The digital enterprise has become necessary because the customers have become digital customers.

Today, consumers are researching, communicating and making decisions online, anywhere and at any time. The changing habits of consumers have already had a profound impact on retail, media, financial services and many other sectors. This is not about rethinking the way an enterprise delivers its products and services. It is about rethinking the enterprise.

Next: Darwinian logic will determine the fate of many contemporary enterprises

Read more: Movers and shakers: Dawie Olivier is new Westpac CIO, Neil Gong now IT chief at Airedale Property Trust

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