Forbes recently published an article called “How The CIO Role Must Change Due to Digital Transformation.” The crux of the argument is that the chief information officer is the only person who can roll out a full-blown digital transformation. Just let that sink in for a moment: Your company cannot move forward into the technological dreamscape until your CIO fully embraces the changes that must ensue. Why? Because they alone possess the eye–in–the–sky vision and resources to drive change. So, yes, digital transformation *starts* with the CIO.
Let’s take a closer look at why CIOs should be sprinting to the front of their companies’ digital transformation initiatives and how they can adapt their roles to be effective.
What’s Driving Change
Traditionally, the CIO’s role has focused on strengthening digital infrastructure and maintaining applications and compliance. While those duties remain, in the thick of a digital transformation the CIO’s focus shifts toward adopting new platforms and evolving operating models to better position the company to compete in the marketplace. In this way, this “new” CIO forces much tighter integration and strict alignment of business goals to technological processes.
How the CIO Must Change
A multi-tiered transformation affects every single employee and every element of business. It’s the CIO’s responsibility to lead this change and unify the company behind the prospect of long-term gains. In the Forbes article, author Peter Bendor-Samuel suggests that seizing and shaping digital transformation opportunities requires an organization to first (a) modernize IT, (b) shift the orientation and mindset of the IT organization and (c) change the organizational structure. But before the CIO can successfully navigate everyone toward success, he or she must shift their attitude and model forward-thinking behavior.
Tips for putting these attitude and behavior shifts into play during a digital transformation include:
- Delegating control and authority to peers and subordinates throughout the process
- Inviting feedback from up and down the decision-making hierarchy
- Promoting the purpose and end goals of the digital transformation initiative
Now that the CIO is increasingly responsible for architecting the technological solutions that shape business, they must integrate every element of business into their strategy. Now CIOs need to consider their employees, customer satisfaction and vendor relationships in addition to traditional infrastructure responsibilities. And with a growing task list, CIOs also need to smartly dodge the common pitfalls that sink digital transformations.
The CIO Role is More Important Than Ever
Some critics have questioned whether ongoing enterprise “digitization” will eventually render the CIO role obsolete.
To this, we scoff with a resounding, “No way.” Big-picture thinking and smart judgment will always be needed for organizations to get the most out of their technology investments. In this vein, the position of CIO is more secure than ever. But it also comes with a brand-new laundry list of responsibilities and pressures.
Feeling Uneasy About Taking the Digital Transformation Plunge?
If you want more information about how to successfully roll out a digital transformation, check out the following: