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A look at the CIO’s new role - culture change agent

A look at the CIO’s new role - culture change agent

The importance of building a digitally dexterous workforce calls for closer partnerships between the CIO and chief HR officers, reports Gartner

Credit: ID 79542212 © Jakub Jirsák | Dreamstime.com

Technical skills are important, but are not enough to steer a successful digital business transformation

Helen Poitevin, Gartner

As society and business increasingly consume and produce digital goods and services, a digitally dexterous workforce is essential to foster agility, collaboration and the adoption of new digital technologies, reports Gartner.

The analyst firm says in this environment, the CIO must be the culture change agent to enhance digital dexterity as a competency that applies to individuals, teams and the organisation as a whole. 

“The digital component of most jobs is increasing. Technical skills are important, but are not enough to steer a successful digital business transformation,” says Helen Poitevin, research vice president at Gartner. “Business and IT leaders need to employ the right talent with a specific set of mindsets, beliefs and behaviors — which we call digital dexterity — to launch, finish and capitalise on digital initiatives.”

Gartner analysts, meanwhile, explain how organisations can create a digital dexterity programme to lead successful digital business initiatives.

The payoff from digital dexterity can be significant. Employees with high levels of digital dexterity are more than three times more likely to gain value from digital initiatives than those with moderate digital dexterity. 

“They are quicker to launch, finish and obtain the outcomes they seek from digital initiatives,” says Poitevin.

Gartner says 29 per cent of CIOs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, EMEA view  digital business as a top priority, so improving digital dexterity throughout the organisation is crucial.

To help their employees to develop digital dexterity traits, business leaders need to build them up by enabling enterprise agility and developing digital competencies. Above all, business leaders need to make digital dexterity a C-suite priority.   

“Mindsets and practices shape culture, and technology acts as an amplifier of that culture. Technology by itself seldom changes an organisation’s culture,” says Daniel Sanchez Reina, senior research director at Gartner. Technology is often the backbone of how work gets done and reinforces the company culture, which is why culture change is becoming an increasing responsibility of IT.

“Increasingly, it’s the responsibility of the CIO to operationalise the enterprise culture and the prevalence of digital dexterity in the workplace,” says Sanchez Reina. 

“The CIO will play a key role in supporting desired behaviors and changing the processes, procedures, policies and management practices that shape how work gets done to encourage desired behaviours."

The CIO is the culture change leader and the chief HR officer (CHRO) is a key partner to the CIO in shifting the mindset of their own IT team members from “this is the way we have always done things” to “how can we do things better?”

“This will only happen by applying a framework of culture change, which includes increasing the digital dexterity of the entire organisation,”  says Sanchez Reina.

Gartner says it has developed the PRISM (purpose; rituals; identity; support and merit) framework to enable organisations to change cultural traits that prevented a culture change (e.g. silo-minded organisations or risk-averse teams). 

“PRISM works because it allows organisations to raise employee’s awareness on the need for change. That is the one and only key to success,” states Sanchez Reina.

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Tags change managementGartnerworkplacemillennialsCulturehuman resourcesbusiness modelchief people officerfuture workforceHelen PoitevincentennialsDaniel Sanchez Reinadigital dexterity

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