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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SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/30/2014 | 7:22:17 AM
Re: CDO turf
I won't call all C level or middle managers flab and I will be careful about saying you could fire management and not affect production.  A good manager will free up employees to do their jobs more efficiently and will inspire them to great things.  If you cut that manager in the name of reducing redundancies then you'll probably regret it.  I just see a bubble forming at the executive level the way we saw a bubble around middle management a decade or so ago.  Companies have to be careful when they are defining positions.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/30/2014 | 7:13:55 AM
Re: CDO turf
I think for some people this is a natural tendency but for others who don't feel threatened then the feeling is more of a supporting nature.  I know I can't do everything by my self so I make sure I have people around who can fill the gaps or cover for me when I'm gone.  I know that if an employer doesn't want me around there are not a lot of obstacles in their way to get rid of me so being hard to work with and giving them one more reason is just a bad idea.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/29/2014 | 11:37:12 AM
Re: CDO turf
Waqas,

You raised an interesting point here.

While it may be true that there is an Ample Supply of Human Talent in the Job Market today from an Employer Perspective;the fact that every single time someone new comes on the Scene one needs to re-train and waste enormous Resources and Time in the process is a cost one can't neglect in the Long-run.

It all adds up eventually,so it makes much more sense to take care of the staff you have in place today.

Regards

Ashish.
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Ninja
6/29/2014 | 6:15:07 AM
Re: CDO turf
Right Ashish. The management should be proactive to these problems. Some are always under impression that supply of human resources is in excess so it won't be a problem in finding a replacement from the external market.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2014 | 3:57:31 PM
Re: CDO turf
Larry,

That's a fair statement to make.

Plain and simple the Best way to do things here.

 
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/28/2014 | 3:52:41 PM
Re: CDO turf
@Ashu

I'm glad your thoughts and mine align here. 

It's not the title so much as what you do with it.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2014 | 3:43:16 PM
Re: CDO turf
SaneIT,

Very true.

I was reading an article in some Business Magazine(I can't remember the name now),which was discussing how a large number of Middle Execs in a good number of Fortune 500 companies are feeling completely stuck or they feel like they have been made redundant because of Automation.

For a Company,these middle Layers of Management (who are mainly paper pushers) are perfect to cut in the name of Cost-cutting.

You lose so much flab without having to worry about performance getting afftected much.

 
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2014 | 3:18:11 PM
Re: CDO turf
SusanN,

Do you feel that the cases of Practical ,Home-Spun C-Level Execs are now in the Minority?

Does everybody just go simply on the basis of Foolish Titles?

Sad reality if that is certainly the case.

Regards

Ashish.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2014 | 3:11:20 PM
Re: CDO turf
Larry,

I share this same scepticism today.

The rate at which these C-Level Titles are being happily flung about raises some serious queries about what works effectively and what does'nt.

One needs Leaders who are practical and have a good degree of Knowledge regarding the Various Industry Goings on.;Titles Don't serve that purpose on their  own.

Regards

Ashish.

 
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2014 | 3:06:01 PM
Re: CDO turf
SusanN,

This is a most interesting Book!

Wow!

I had no idea ,someone will also ever look at Introverts like this.

I like it!

Lets not dispute the fact that most of what we (in most Organizations today);talk about is pure Nonsense on a Day-Day Basis.

Why not have some Quiet-Time instead?

Brilliant-Brilliant Thought-process.

Regards

Ashish.
<<   <   Page 6 / 12   >   >>
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