Strategic CIO // IT Strategy
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6/5/2014
03:20 PM
Susan Nunziata
Susan Nunziata
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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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WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Ninja
6/15/2014 | 6:29:49 AM
Re: CDO turf
Susan, agreed. The role of coordinator is very important. How to implement things without least affecting the routine operations is an art.
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Ninja
6/15/2014 | 6:18:05 AM
Referees doing the convincing part
References often help in convincing organizations in adopting particular technology options. Executives feel more comfortable if they hear from other non-IT peers who have used such options. Bridging this mind-gap can be best done by the developers of technology if they refer their clients to existing users.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Moderator
6/14/2014 | 10:20:25 AM
Re: CDO turf
@Larryloeb, Your comment brought me back to feeling nostalgic too. It reminded me of when my teacher used to use carbon copies for our "dittos." I am surprised PFChang's are operating so old school with the credit card imprinter slips. I actually forgot all about those slips until reading your comment.
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/13/2014 | 6:21:57 PM
Re: CDO turf
@Susan

You think I'm kidding about carbon paper. When PFChang's got breached this week, they went back to old school credit card imprinter slips done with ink and then batch processed. Made me feel nostalgic, it did.

I'm really not knocking the CDO concept, BTW. Anything that can give the C-level a clue is always welcome. I just think they wont listen much; even to good ideas. Inertia and all.

 

 
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
6/13/2014 | 3:54:38 PM
Re: CDO turf
yes, I see the same trend... but thing always change in corporates board rooms...
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/13/2014 | 2:53:37 PM
Re: CDO turf
@SaneIT: You're lucky to be in a spot where your CFO and COO get along and are both willing to step into the room with you to answer questions. I was in a situation a few years back where I had basically two bosss--I officially reported to one person but with dotted line to another. What they sought from me was often diametrically opposed, and they were rarely willing to sit down together to clear the air and get everything on the same page. 

Oddly enough, learning how to function in that environment ended up giving me some valuable skills though it caused me no small measure of heartburn at the time.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/13/2014 | 2:50:54 PM
Re: CDO turf
@SaneIT: Based on what you're saying, then, someone who could combine the project management skills and rigor of the CIO with the product-focused, less stringent mentality of the CMO or marketing team could do well in bridging the gap between both worlds. 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/13/2014 | 7:38:58 AM
Re: CDO turf
" CIOs have had to fight to get a "seat at the table" so to speak when it comes to be truly considered an equal member of the C-suite alongside the CFO, COO, etc. "

 

That's the truth, on paper I report to the CFO but I probably spend 3-4 times as much of my day working on thing the COO is asking for.  It's an odd management structure but luckily our CFO and COO get along so I can call them in to meetings together to give an overview of what I have going on without a great deal of drama.  There is defiantly a reluctance to add more C level positions but for me the title isn't the end goal.  

 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/13/2014 | 7:35:11 AM
Re: CDO turf
Well in my case it has always been me, but I don't carry a C level title.  IT has always been IT who deals with the external resources because we tend to have the project management skills.  A marketing team might have an excellent leader but they tend to be more product minded than project minded so they will let a project run astray in an attempt to get a product produced.  IT tends to keep things more tightly packaged so we end up with the product we originally set out to get by following a path that we know works.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 2:57:00 PM
Re: CDO turf
@SaneIT: Pointy haired managers: "Who determines when these positions are needed?"

another question to add here is one of power. All "C"-level positions are not created equal, as any CIO can tell you. CIOs have had to fight to get a "seat at the table" so to speak when it comes to be truly considered an equal member of the C-suite alongside the CFO, COO, etc. To some degree, I think the CMO is in the same boat as the CIO, because they are both considered the heads of cost centers instead of revnue generating sides of the business.

The question for me then becomes: Who would hold more power in the organization that has a CDO. If that CDO does not report to the CIO--would the CDO position have more clout because it is seen as being attached to activities that are customer-facing and therefore potentially revenue-generating?
<<   <   Page 9 / 11   >   >>
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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