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How CIOs can move from business partner to trusted ally

How CIOs can move from business partner to trusted ally

Leadership skills become more critical than technology when working with executive teams in scaling the organisation’s digital business.

If your enterprise was looking to fill your job today, would they hire you?

The CIO role has dramatically changed from being an IT delivery executive to that of an IT business executive.

“This is happening because of digitisation that you are doing across the organisation,” notes Michele Caminos, managing vice president at Gartner.

“The CIO role today calls for managing, leading your teams and the people across the organisation differently,” says Caminos, as she talks about mastering the new job of the CIO.

“You need to identify the collection of technologies the organisation needs to help support the challenges the business is facing as a result of digitisation.”

Today’s CIOs also look at external markets, she adds.

“What business models can you bring to the organisation as a result of these technologies? How do we bring the people with us not only within the IT organisation but across the entire enterprise?”

“Where are we in that today, and where do we need to go?”

For Caminos, the critical questions CIOs need to answer are: “If your enterprise was looking to fill your job today, would they hire you? Are you the right person today, and are you going to be in two years? What does the new CIO look like?”

She proffers three different types of CIOs - transactional, partner and trusted ally.

The trusted ally CIO represents the highest level of CIO influence in the enterprise, she points out.

Transactional CIOs are back office operators, and are seen as internal suppliers. They work with the business, ensuring their assistance if available and they roll out standards and policies. Their reputation is built on effective IT service delivery, she says.

The partner CIO is a business enabler and credible technology leader. They are having conversations with business leaders, and have a reputation built on effective response to the needs of the business.

The difference between being a partner and trusted ally CIO is this, she stresses. “The partner CIO is all about supporting and working with the business to find the right technology to help meet the need for where the business is going.

“The trusted ally CIOs are the ones who tell the business this is where we need to go, these are the technologies we need.

“The trusted ally CIOs are able to do this because they are on top of what is happening in the enterprise, the industry, partner organisations and competitors,” she says.

Neil Osmond, research vice president at Gartner, calls on CIOs to move on to the role of being a trusted ally.

Osmond points out the partner CIO leads from behind, is an enabler and helps the business move forward.

But becoming a digital business changes everything, including how the organisation engages with customers, or in the case of government, the citizens it interacts with.

The CIO role today calls for managing, leading your teams and the people across the organisation differently

Michele Caminos, Gartner

“The organisation needs someone who is not just in a support function or a partner, but someone who really understands the business,” he says.

Beyond digital ‘dabbling’

The two Gartner analysts note technology is not the key challenge CIOs face as the organisation shifts to become a digital business.

This, they say, is borne on the results of Gartner’s 2018 CIO Survey.

Caminos says what they are finding is there is a wall between organisations that are initiating (“digital dabbling and still working on pilots”)  and scaling (who have matured and are profitable) digital businesses.

When we asked what is holding the first group back, we thought it would be resources or money, she says. But CIOs say the number one barrier to scaling the digital business is culture.

Globally and in ANZ, culture was cited by 46 per cent of organisations.

“If you want digital business to work, you are absolutely going to have to change the culture. It is all about the people,” she says. “What new business models, new ways of operating, new way of thinking are needed to change now?

“How is that being communicated and understood by everyone in your company, so they feel they are part of something bigger than themselves?

“They are going to want to feel that they have a part to play in order to achieve that goal, the vision of where they are going.”

“It is the soft side of being the CIO.”

Osmond, on the other hand, says this is good news for CIOs because IT is not seen as the barrier to scaling the digital business.

“But if you are an IT leader, you have more than IT to worry about,” he says.

“You are looking across the organisation in terms of this cultural curve.”

He says CIOs are adopting new roles and new ways of working and operating.

Some CIOs take on non-IT responsibilities. For instance, across the globe 55 per cent (49 per cent in ANZ) also hold the CDO role; 54 per cent (34 per cent in ANZ) are responsible for innovation, and 28 per cent (20 per cent in ANZ) are responsible for enterprise change.

How the organisation is structured is important, and this includes having a dedicated team for this transformation. In the digital age, new IT roles needed include user experience designer, API product manager and chief analytics officer.

The Gartner CIO survey discovered that only 56 per cent of ANZ CIOs have a seat in the executive table.

Caminos points out, however, that “It is the conversations you are having around this table that matter.

“You know as much as anyone in the business executive team about what is happening in the industry, to the enterprise, and the information and technology that are required for you to get there,” she cites.

The organisation needs someone who is not just in a support function or a partner, but someone who really understands the business

Neil Osmond, Gartner

She says some questions CIOs need to answer during these conversations are:

What new industry or companies should your company get into? What are the customer needs that are not being met that new products and services can help solve? What new business models need to be transformed or developed in order to take advantage of these opportunities or respond to new threats?

She also says CIOs should consider whether the success of their job is still weighted more for IT activities or delivery of projects, or the impact or business outcomes of these projects.

Disruptive technologies

The two Gartner analysts also take a look at the disruptive technologies CIOs have deployed, or are in short-term planning for deployment, in the past three years.

Artificial intelligence gained the greatest percentage rise, at 150 per cent, from 10 per cent in 2015 to 25 per cent this year.

Internet of Things, which in 2015, was cited by 20 per cent of CIOs, is now being implemented by over a third, 36 per cent, or an 80 per cent rise in three years.

3D printing follows, with a 70 per cent rise over three years.

Smart robotics, cited by 12 per cent in 2015, has risen to 16 per cent, or a 33 per cent rise.

Conversational interfaces which was not cited in the 2015 survey, is being deployed by 21 per cent of respondents. This is exemplified by digital assistants, who will be the front face of the organisation.

CIOs are rebalancing their portfolio, making decisions on those technologies that are differentiating, are touching their clients every day, or driving new sources of revenue, says Caminos.

CEOs on digital transformation

While Gartner finds CIOs cite culture as a very high priority concern in digital transformation, this is not always the case with CEOs.

Only 37 per cent of CEOs surveyed by Gartner said a deep or significant culture change is needed by 2020.

However, when comparing companies that have a digital initiative underway with those that don't, the proportion in need of culture change rose to 42 per cent, reports Gartner.

"These survey results show that if a company has a digital initiative, then the recognised need for culture change is higher," says Gartner analyst Mark Raskino.

"The most important types of cultural change that CEOs intend to make include making the culture more proactive, collaborative, innovative, empowered and customer-centric. They also highly rate a move to a more digital and tech-centric culture,” he states.

CEOs want greater insight on which digital technologies to invest in - which are hype, or stronger disruptors for digital business transformation or hype. “CIOs are expected to provide this early warning radar and assessment,” adds Gartner analyst Partha Iyengar.

They list some ways CIOs can work with their CEOs in preparing the organisation for digital business:

  • Help the organisation build a workforce for the digital business world. They can look for opportunities to include staff from business in agile development projects. “In this way, the IT organisation can spread its experience with agile development to the rest of the enterprise.”

  • Work with the HR department to create a list of the technical and nontechnical skills needed for digital business. Gartner says this responsibility will often fall on the CIO. Gartner recommends finding “creative ways” to find technical skills that are in short supply. CIOs can partner with universities and with companies outside their supply chain.

  • Organise a quarterly meeting to brief the executive committee on new technologies that can — and cannot — help the digital business transformation. This can also be done through visiting sites where the technology is in use. “Show how technologies could affect the business model of the enterprise rather than ‘just’ describing how the technologies work,” advises Gartner.

  • Create a function within the IT organisation to track emerging technologies that may have digital business applications. Gartner says this function can be informal, but should include people from outside IT who are interested in technology so their recommendations are based on the knowledge of the business. This team can provide regular reports that can be presented to executive committee briefings.

Neil Osmond and Michele Caminos spoke on ‘mastering the new role of the CIO’ at the 2018 CIO100 events in Wellington and Auckland.

Neil Osmond at the CIO100 event in Wellington
Neil Osmond at the CIO100 event in Wellington
#cio100 #leadership #digital #transformation #strategy #AI
#cio100 #leadership #digital #transformation #strategy #AI
Michele Caminos at the CIO100 event in Auckland
Michele Caminos at the CIO100 event in Auckland

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Tags change managementGartnerRed hat enterpriseAI3d printingCultureCIO100cxMark RaskinoMichele CaminosDXPartha Iyengardisruptive technology AInew workplaceNeil Osmond

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