Mobile, cloud, big data and social technologies have unleashed a sweeping tide of transformation that has given rise to a keen awareness of the importance of the customer experience and has presented CIOs with an unprecedented opportunity to make their mark by steering their companies toward digital business.
Many have dabbled in ecommerce, digital marketing and social media initiatives, but 2016 will be the year that digital business strategies take root, according to Forrester Research. Forty-eight percent of companies have tested the digital waters by "bolting on" some kind of augmentation strategy over existing products or services, according to a Forrester study, yet the plays have been mostly tactical and not a disruption to the business model. In fact, just 26 percent of executives surveyed by Forrester reported that they feel their company fully understands the transformative potential of digital.
That's not the case at forward-thinking companies, including many recipients of this year's CIO 100 Awards, our annual program that honors 100 organizations demonstrating excellence and achievement in IT. Many of the 2016 CIO 100 winners are pioneers on the digital frontier, using technology to reshape their relationships with customers and open doors to new revenue streams.
"So much is changing in how revenue is generated through technology as it's moved from the back of the house to the front of the house," says Forrester analyst Nigel Fenwick. "There's a fundamental shift from an environment where all the value that the customer derives from a product or service is built into the physical product to a place where the digital components are inherently delivering more value."
Whether it's Domino's Pizza letting people order from any device and through multiple mediums (including emojis on Twitter) or CVS Health retooling for an integrated online pharmacy experience, the initiatives are all about putting customers front and center.
"Digital has brought significant changes to consumer perceptions, and that's transferring over to healthcare," says Kristin Darby, CIO at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, a CIO 100 award winner for a hospital expansion that revamps the patient experience through creative use of technology. "As we make investments in expanding our facilities and services, we want to make sure that our technology solution architecture is thought out from the beginning of construction to transform the way we provide care."
Being able to respond quickly is what digital is all about, and for AT&T DirecTV, another 2016 CIO 100 honoree, improving response time required a total rethinking of internal operations and processes, including adoption of agile methodologies. "In order to respond that quickly to what's going on, you have to alter traditional processes and transform the organization's way of thinking," says Luz Gonzalez, DirecTV's senior vice president of program and software delivery.
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