Strategic CIO // IT Strategy
Commentary
6/5/2014
03:20 PM
Susan Nunziata
Susan Nunziata
Commentary
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The CIO's 2 New BFFs

Now that business is digital at its core, it's time to buddy up with the CDO and CMO.

Is your business digital? A better question to ask is: Which part of your business isn't digital? Most organizations -- whether they are corporations, government agencies, healthcare organizations, or educational institutions -- are now digital at the core, including their interactions with customers.

Still not convinced? Here's what George Westerman, a researcher at the MIT Center for Digital Excellence, had to say about the companies that his research has found to be "digital masters." For them, "technology is not technology. It's an opportunity to rethink the processes of how they do business."

[Lets not forget the question of corporate culture. Read Geeks Versus Jocks: CIOs, Beware Your Culture.]

He discussed his team's research during a panel session on business transformation at last month's MIT Sloan CIO Symposium in Boston. "Digital masters all have a common approach to managing digital and are 26% more profitable than their peers," he said. "They lead differently. For all the talk we've seen [advising us to] 'let innovation happen around your organization,' these leaders drive transformation from the top down."

Westerman and his research partners identify companies as digital masters if they meet the following two criteria:

  • They invest in technology with the viewpoint that it represents an opportunity to transform their business, and they have leaders who are proactive about finding ways to use digital technology to benefit all aspects of the business.
  • They drive technology innovation across all business departments, marrying a clear digital vision with a strong governance foundation, preparing the company to change, and seeing that change through.

He gave some examples in a prepared statement, citing Nike, Caesar's Entertainment, and Chilean mining company Codelco as digital masters:

[Nike] is end-to-end digital, from supply chain to design and marketing. It combines custom-designed social media with a digital supply chain. By creating its Nike Digital Sport group, Nike linked all of these functions together, and the company is able to launch more products, customize products, test new designs, and customize advertising to a highly personal level. Within a Caesar's venue, customers are supplied with a concierge on their personal phones that immediately responds to any need, perceived or actual. And the largest copper company in the world, Codelco, is using digital technology both to track production in its copper mines and to update customers about orders. Digital technology also allows Codelco to use driverless mining trucks, and it may even help increase production while minimizing the volume of human activity underground and corresponding safety concerns.

According to a report released earlier this year by Forrester Research, the "biggest test on the road to becoming a digital business is convincing senior management that it's worth the effort. Only one in six of the 1,254 global business execs surveyed by Forrester said his or her company has the competencies to execute a digital strategy.

Indeed, as he noted during the MIT CIO Symposium, "If you think of your organization as a caterpillar, then digital should turn you into a butterfly." The problem, he said, is that many of the businesses his group has studied "are using digital to turn themselves into really fast caterpillars."

What does all this mean for CIOs? For one thing, it's time to

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Susan Nunziata works closely with the site's content team and contributors to guide topics, direct strategies, and pursue new ideas, all in the interest of sharing practicable insights with our community. Nunziata was most recently Director of Editorial for ... View Full Bio
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tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Moderator
7/16/2014 | 4:44:04 PM
Re: CDO turf
@SaneIT: Yes I think it is an attempt to appeal more towards the younger employees. It also eliminates traditional structures of a regular corporation which appeals to them as well. I'm not so certain as to how effective it is operationally or even if younger people appreciate the effort. Social media might just be a short term fad. Who knows how long Twitter or FB will last. And why duplicate the work of their regular website? The next fad is always around the corner so who knows if these positions will last or will be migrated to the next fad?
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
7/15/2014 | 4:58:27 PM
Re: CDO turf
@tjgkg,

I'm wondering what is diving those positions then.  Is it an attempt to  build a "younger" company and relate with a younger generation?  If so is it working?  It doesn't make sense to me, I don't see the point of a handful of traditional C level positions in a company depending on the company size though.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Moderator
7/11/2014 | 9:22:08 AM
Re: CDO turf
Couldn't agree with you more, Susan. A lot of these new C level positions are really more like specialist positions that can disappear when the fad is over. A true C-level position is one that is crtical for the company to keep functioning and growing.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Moderator
7/11/2014 | 9:18:26 AM
Re: CDO turf
There are just too many chiefs out there these days. And a lot of these new fangled C-level positions have people who are too young for the roles. They tend to be faddish instead of functional. A lot of the positions should be part of an existing C position responsibilities or maybe just a mid level manager position.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Moderator
7/11/2014 | 9:15:14 AM
Re: CDO turf
From what I understand Jobs chose Cook. But there will never be another Jobs so he chose the best candidate available to run the show. I am sure that there is a good talent pool in Apple but you have to wonder if there are going to be clashes between the Jobs disciples and new folks who want to go in a different direction.
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/5/2014 | 2:54:00 AM
Re: CDO turf
Susan, hmm. This position may not just be relevant for the transition phase but may be moving into the future, the need of this position becomes so important that sub-roles may have to be defined. Management of everything digital also requires a C-level position.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
7/5/2014 | 2:47:31 AM
Re: CDO turf
thank you :)
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/5/2014 | 2:46:07 AM
Re: CDO turf
Batye, yes you are right. Often office politics becomes a hurdle in good HR pool management. Insecurity is a well-known human weakness.
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/5/2014 | 2:43:49 AM
Re: CDO turf
tjgkg, good leader makes good succession planning as well. I don't know if Jobs did it well. May be he tried but innovation is not everyone's game; some are too creative. However with the talent pool Apple must be having, they should stay competitive; yes I said competitive and not leaders because for that another great mind is needed else Android in OS and many in manufacturing are doing well.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Moderator
7/3/2014 | 8:34:27 AM
Re: CDO turf
@Susan: It's like in sports, it is very difficult to replace the Hall of Famer. Jobs was a once in a lifetime personality who invented many great things. He had the common touch. A very hard combination to replace. Tim Cook is a veteran executive who is certainly competant. I am just concerned at the high level that Jobs set will not be met for a while. That is probably why they split their stock and started paying dividends too (something Jobs was adamantly against).
Page 1 / 9   >   >>
Transformative CIOs Organize for Success
Transformative CIOs Organize for Success
Trying to meet today’s business technology needs with yesterday’s IT organizational structure is like driving a Model T at the Indy 500. Time for a reset.
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