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How to be a disruptive leader

Rodney Byfield | May 6, 2014
For many years now, IT leaders have been successfully walking a tightrope – balancing their organisation's expectations on one hand and the IT service capability on the other.

This is the mindset that the CIO of tomorrow requires. Notwithstanding, consumer technology is moving fast and will soon infuse all aspects of life at work and home.

Significant advances in health tech, mobility, and smart wearables means that it is going to be a real challenge to keep up.

In a customer-centric scenario, many new IT functions will be outsourced or purchased as services. Traditional IT departments are not flexible enough to cater for quick innovative change, which gives the cloud genuine purpose at enterprise level.

Even when control is a priority — and especially in the case of security or policy management — restrictions will have to be balanced against mobilisation, personalisation, and functionality for the customer.

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With this in mind, it will be much easier to conduct and lead the direction of technological advance rather than simply trying to control it. The CIO needs to become an expert in delivering customer-centric innovation and aggregation.

If you don't take the lead the business may well bypass IT and procure technology-enabled services without your input. Technology will soon be everywhere, connecting everything you have.

Consider the following:

  • Your company car connects your home wireless to upgrade its software for more efficient driving. It also updates the GPS information for tomorrow's appointments.
  • Your work calendar synchronises your recent alarm or appointment with your wearable technology, car, TV and your alarm clock at home. They all understand your location to use the correct alarm.
  • You use your home TV to read through documents on your work email and reply via voice technology.

These are real examples of the workspace of the future. It's already happening now. Soon IT will be everywhere and the delivery of service or, for that matter, end points can be as diverse as your imagination. We are talking bring-your-own-device on steroids.

It makes sense to conclude that if the definition of workspace is changing, then the expectation will change with it.

So what can you do?

  • Engage with marketing and get a clear understanding of what delivering customer service is from their perspective.
  • Create a strategy with marketing that will improve your ability to offer better customer service.
  • Start a discussion about using the IT and marketing budget together to enhance customer experience.
  • Lead your team into the customer service space; ensure that IT is ready and willing to support the changes.
  • Look for projects you can "socialise". Get the customer involved early in the process with pilot activities. Learn about brand advocacy.
  • Use the in-house knowledge you have to collaborate with marketing and customer service; you have the insider advantage.

If you are not prepared, the exponential growth in emerging technologies will catch you off-guard. If you're caught out you, may need to dust off your CV and prepare for a change.


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