If there’s one thing all CIOs arguably now have in common, it’s that they can’t escape the impact of digital change.
Digital is changing every aspect of their businesses – from how they interact and communicate with customers to developing and delivering products and services that drive efficiencies. The question today is what organisations, and their executives, are doing to address such wholesale change to the way they function and go to market.
At the same time, the digital era has raised questions about the ongoing influence of the CIO, and the strategic priorities IT leaders must assume to remain relevant. If this year’s State of the CIO report is any guide, many CIOs not only believe they’re becoming more important in this transformation, they’re working to make such change happen right now.
This year’s State of the CIO is a barometer for how IT is being perceived and responding to these winds of change. Many respondents indicate they are meeting the challenge head-on by creating new, innovative products and services to achieve their business goals and secure their future growth.
More than 25 percent are being asked to lead a product innovation effort this year, compared to just 6 percent in 2014. At IP law firm, Griffith Hack, the IT group is working closely with the CEO and board to create two new products that will completely change the way the firm does business with inventors and corporate organisations, its CIO, Andrew Mitchell, says.
“It’s about changing the way we look to our clients ... and how we can provide a better service. The CEO now realises that technology plays a major part in that,” he says.
This is so much the case that Mitchell, who is also director of operations at the firm, is reporting to the board every month.
“It [business improvement through IT innovation] is high on their radar,” he says. “With the nature of our business, dealing with client’s inventions and innovations we have to show our clients that we are also helping to make them more efficient.”
Paul Kennedy, CIO at retail group, APG & Co, is also working on several IT-driven innovations that will be released to the market shortly. He adds the company’s CEO has put the emphasis on using technology to drive ‘customer-facing’ innovation to improve customer experience inside its stores.
A challenging but rewarding role
Another key finding from this year’s State of the CIO results is that CIOs are enjoying an improved relationship with their CEO. More than two-thirds of respondents said their CEO consults them frequently about the organisation’s strategy and future, a sign that technology is firmly recognised as a strategic pillar in how businesses move forward.
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