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CEOs rate productivity 'very low' from emerging tech

Matt Hamblen | April 25, 2017
Execs need to be more creative thinkers in optimizing internet of things, artificial intelligence, blockchain and 3D printing, analyst says.

Gartner's survey found that almost half of the 388 CEOs surveyed judged productivity in an operation based on revenues. But Rakino said that revenue metrics fail "to focus management attention squarely on how many units of value are produced per amount of input."

To shift focus requires CEOs and CIOs to think creatively about how to judge the value of new technologies like IoT. Many CIOs in private manufacturing, smart cities and utilities rely on pilot projects using sensors and wireless networks conducted at a small scale to detect problems and evaluate benefits before expanding. With open data projects for smart cities, the benefits are sometimes weighed in improved citizen approval ratings, with little or no revenue potential, analysts said.

"CIOs should be experimenting [with GPTs], that is for sure," Raskino said in an email. "What's really needed is new business-transforming management science ideas. Those include methods of framing, modeling, measuring and changing productivity to take advantage of the pile-up of new high-power technologies. Big, creative thinking may be more valuable than yet more new technology right now. The smartest CIOs of this generation have the opportunity to come up with new methods as powerful as Lean or BPM were in prior decades."

Jack Gold, an analyst for J. Gold Associates, said it isn't a surprise that CEOs don't see high productivity from these new GPTs. "Most companies, including high-level execs, hear about all the new technology coming and expect it to affect their companies," Gold said. "But most also have no idea how" to bring about an impact.

"The vast majority of companies don't really measure return on investment (ROI) and the impact a new technology has given them in competitive advantage," he added. Gold's surveys show that only about 15% to 25% of companies do any kind of measurement of the impact of new technology, including cloud, mobile, IoT, virtual reality and more.

"Much of the impact is seat of the pants guessing," Gold said.

What's needed, Raskino said, is a "new generation of breakthrough, creative CIOs for the second half of the information age — like the Max Hoppers of the first half."

Hopper in 2000 was named by Computerworld as one of the top 25 greatest contributors to the field of information systems. Hopper, who died in 2010, served for part of his career as CIO of the Bank of America.


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