Strategic CIO // IT Strategy
Commentary
6/5/2014
03:20 PM
Susan Nunziata
Susan Nunziata
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

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

Next Page

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
Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
<<   <   Page 7 / 12   >   >>
WaqasAltaf
50%
50%
WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2014 | 2:43:18 AM
Re: CDO turf
SaneIT

"I need my team to understand what I do and why I do it so that if I move up and out that things will continue down the right path and they won't feel lost."

It is human nature to get insecure and one has to be very confident about his future prospects to make a good successor of his role. This is where HR must also play the role.
WaqasAltaf
50%
50%
WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2014 | 2:39:37 AM
Re: CDO turf
Susan, true. That is where specialized roles such as that of CDO creep in. If the company is serious about moving in the right direction, it must have grasp on all factors that determine that direction. Specialized roles can create a foundation from where the analysis becomes a lot easier.
SaneIT
IW Pick
100%
0%
SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/26/2014 | 7:19:58 AM
Re: CDO turf
I think that I'll be able to keep the same approach even if I do move into a C level position.  I do have several people around me who have warned me not to "be like one of them" as a way of telling me that they feel like some of the C levels they work with are not as easy going as I am or as helpful.  Much of what I hear is that they expect me to become more of a micro manager because that is what they see at that level and they are afraid that I'll lose the collaborative nature that I have.  My take on my position in the company is that if I'm not replaceable then I can't be promoted out of the position either.  I need my team to understand what I do and why I do it so that if I move up and out that things will continue down the right path and they won't feel lost.
tjgkg
50%
50%
tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2014 | 7:26:20 PM
Re: CDO turf
@Susan: Thanks for the link. Unfortunately for TIm Cook he is following a legend who died young. Apple was very much tied to Jobs and nobody, however great a CEO they are, will never change that. Jobs also had his finger on the pulse of society and made products that really appealed to people. Cook is probably more of an administrator than a visionary which also does not help, especially since no earth shattering products have come out on his watch yet.
Susan_Nunziata
50%
50%
Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/25/2014 | 4:06:12 PM
Re: Amazing
@SachinEE: Eventually, many copmanies will be forced to change their approach and culture toward this digital-forward mindset. And that is, truly, what it is at the core: A shift in corporate mindset. It's good to see, in the examples you cite, industries that have sometimes been viewed as being behind the curve when it comes to using technology are now actually embracing it for the betterment of the organizaitons and the people they serve (particulary healthcare and government). While there will be missteps along the way, any step forward is a sign of progress.
Susan_Nunziata
50%
50%
Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/25/2014 | 4:03:17 PM
Re: CDO turf
@tjgkg: Sadly in most organizations that is the case, and those who do get things accomplished oftentimes get overlooked or not credited with it. This is also, in part, due to the fact that our business culture in the U.S. tends to reward the extrovert over the introvert. I'm reading a fascinating book on this topic right now, called "Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking." I highly recommend! It discusses the challenges that introverts face in climbing the corporate ladder, among many other eye-opening topics related to what our business culture is all about. All we need to do is look at the flaming that Apple's Tim Cook is getting to see just how difficult it is to not fit the mold in today's corporate environment.
Susan_Nunziata
50%
50%
Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/25/2014 | 3:59:06 PM
Re: CDO turf
@WaqasAtlaf: lack of persistence is spot on, and I would add that with so many shifting priorities in an organization, it becomes very difficult for many people to keep their eyes on the endgame and fully execute.

That's certainly been my experience, when I look back at great ideas that never saw the light of day. More often than not, it was because I had too many conflicting priorities and immediate, hair-on-fire deadlines, and so anything that was not crucial got pushed to the back burner, or pushed off the stove entirely.
Susan_Nunziata
50%
50%
Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/25/2014 | 3:56:11 PM
Re: CDO turf
@H-H: Ah, such a good question! The best that a person can do, I think, is to try not to take anything personally, understand as best as possible what is motivating all the players, and be honest and forthcoming with all parties. It may end up backfiring on you, but at least you can go home and look yourself in the mirror at night! And, if the political situation in the organization is truly  toxic, I would suggest finding another place to work if at all possible.
Susan_Nunziata
50%
50%
Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/25/2014 | 3:53:46 PM
Re: Digital Master definition
@kstaron: Based on my understanding of the MIT research, and seeing Westerman discuss the findings at the CIO Symposium, what you describe would not qualify a company as a digital master according to their definitions. The top-down, holistic approach is truly key, I think, in terms of embedding a tech-forward approach into an organization's DNA. It doesn't mean that digital innovation can't bubble up from diffferent busienss or tech unitis within the company. Quite the contrary, in fact, a company that is considered a digital master would have a structure that allows and encourages digital innovation to come from all corners of the organization. The difference is that the senior management embraces and supports this, both culturally and financially.
Susan_Nunziata
50%
50%
Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/25/2014 | 3:50:24 PM
Re: CDO turf
@SaneIT: That's exactly the kind of attitude I'd love to see more of in business. Your teams are lucky to have you, and I do hope that you are able to achieve your career goals. In the meantime, perhaps you can provide some executive coaching to others who are in the higher positions and don't grasp -- or have forgotten -- the very basic edict we all have learned from childhood: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

 
<<   <   Page 7 / 12   >   >>
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.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014
InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and community news at InformationWeek.com.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.