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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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.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2014 | 3:00:56 PM
Re: CDO turf
SaneIT,

Thats the right way to look at this critical issue.

Fact is no one is irreplaceable in an organization;otherwise they would never go elsewhere.

A CIO's job is not to micro-manage but rather Delegate responsibility effectively to employees so that they can be freed up mentally for more aggressive Strategizing as well as Research on what works and what does'nt for today's Enterprise.

You are doing it the right way.

Regards

Ashish.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2014 | 2:53:26 PM
Re: CDO turf
Waqas,

Not just HR but also the Senior Management in the Company (and especially the Founders) need to have  a succession Management strategy in place.

Who's your No.2 who will step out to the plate if the No.1 Gets incapacitated for any reason?

Similarly,What happens if your No.2 suddenly decides to leave the company?You have to not just train a fresh No.2 but also be prepared for him/her to make mistakes as they learn the ropes.

Its not easy but it has to be done effectively enough and Senior Management should lead the charge here.

Regards

Ashish.

 
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Moderator
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
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Moderator
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
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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.
<<   <   Page 4 / 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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