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CIOs can be catalysts for change in the postdigital enterprise

Thor Olavsrud | March 15, 2013
For CIOs, it is the best of times and the worst of times. Five macro forces--analytics, mobile, social, cloud and cyber--are disrupting the nature of IT and carrying businesses into the postdigital era.

How Does a CIO Become a Postdigital Catalyst?

There's no simple blueprint for becoming an agent of transformation, but Gandhi and Briggs do offer a few pointers. First and foremost, start with a self-assessment of your relationships with fellow C-suite officers. Figure out how the IT department is perceived, their opinions on how IT creates value for the organization, and their thoughts on postdigital forces, what they plan to do about them and how they hope to engage with IT to purse the benefits. Then take these four steps:

  • Seed innovation. Gandhi and Briggs recommend creating a pocket within your organization focused on research and development. Explore the five postdigital forces and identify specific ways they can be applied to improve your business. Ask vendors and other business partners about real world examples with tangible outcomes.
  • Have essential conversations. Continue the conversation with function heads. Uderstand their priorities, get feedback and discuss the potential of the postdigital forces based on real-world use cases you've uncovered.
  • Retool. You're probably not fully equipped to make the transition to the postdigital enterprise right now. Your organization will need new business and technical skills, and probably new architecture as well.
  • Prototype. Plan big, start small, fail fast and scale appropriately. Gandhi and Briggs recommend grounding projects in business objectives and simple metrics, and fighting for a single, empowered business owner who can guide the big picture direction and tactical decisions of the project. Pilot as soon as possible and get user feedback to guide the future direction.

"The CIO of the future may look a lot like a venture capitalist--maintaining principles for what makes a solid investment, defining the boundaries upon which deals will be conducted, and driving funding, staffing and strategic support based on often-changing needs and the emerging value of individual initiatives," Gandhi and Briggs say.


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