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Unfazed by rapid change

Divina Paredes | June 12, 2015
The CIO role is in a constant state of ‘flux’, but this may actually be a career advantage, part two of our 2015 State of the CIO report reveals.

rapid change

"In a digital world, the CIO has to look past the technology and really look, for instance, at how marketing and other parts of the organisation want to leverage the technology -- because it is a whole new ecosystem," says Andrew Crabb, former head of enterprise solutions and services at Vodafone, and now a business advisor.

"The CIO of today and the future needs to spend a lot of time living and breathing in that environment, really understand the dynamics about what is happening today, what is possible, what is the potential with the technology and where the business is taking the use of those technologies."

Crabb talks about some of the common themes that emerged from the survey results.

These include the need to respond to speed of change and new customer demands as a result of digitalisation, the security implications of the new platforms and services; and the imperative to improve engagement with other business units and executive peers.

Crabb says there are new imperatives for CIOs in a fast-paced digital environment.

"There are new business models emerging all the time from a social environment, or using a digital product," he adds. "The CIO needs to spend time in the business, not just focusing on the technology and the technology department."

Crabb says CIOs can find value in attending industry events that are aimed at other members of the executive suite. These could be marketing forums, or conferences aimed at chief financial officers.

The demands on CIOs mean the technology group needs to be able to support a lot more than what they used to do, he says. "They are becoming more and more part of the real-time interactive components of the organisation."

"CIOs need to build teams that can understand all of the nuances and aspects of new business models using digital and cloud technologies," he states. These include team members who can implement agile methodologies, as well as architects, business analysts and project managers who can 'engage' or work closely with other business units.

Agenda: Agility

Paymark CIO Dhaya Sivakumar says this new environment for CIOs and their teams "requires very different thinking".

He says an approach he takes is 'bi-modal IT'. The latter is a reference to Gartner's approach to divide IT into two modes -- agile and flexible, and a step by step approach that ensures efficiency and predictability.

"We take existing teams to continue what they have been doing but we invest heavily in the R&D team. It is essentially a team of dev testers developing new products and services in a very modern way," he states.


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