"We used to all hide behind the language of technology," says Havercroft. "The reality is we have to come out of that and we have to look very much at what is the service we are offering to customers."
"Frankly, if CIOs want to be relevant in their organisation, that is what they have to do," says Havercroft. "They have to get themselves, and their workforce and their teams to be able to communicate in terms of the customer, not in terms of which servers are down, which nodes are working or what the latest software versions are."
The undercover CIO
Alin Ungureanu, managing director of TYDY Group, always goes a step further in making sure the IT team is in sync with the needs of the customers.
"In all my roles, I have always believed in the interactions with customers being at the centre of the business," says Ungureanu, who has been CIO at Oceania Healthcare and Icebreaker, and director at KPMG New Zealand.
He says one of the highlights of his CIO role at Oceania was the time he went 'undercover' and worked as business and care manager for one of their rest homes for six weeks.
"The focus for me was 'do our employees have the right tools?'" says Ungureanu."Do we provide them with the process effective and efficient processes to be able to undertake the job every single day?"
"It was a very challenging role and gave me the opportunity to understand a little bit more of what Oceania does for its residents every day. I believe that it is important to understand that the facilities are not only a place where residents live but it is place for them to call home."
"Doing that has given me an insight into watching what is important for our customers, how our customers interact with our workforce, and what is important to employees," he says.
"I learnt a lot of things, and have been privy to experiences only you as a frontline staff experience every day," says Ungureanu.
His non-CIO stint also allowed him to understand the things the IT team does very well, and what they need to improve on.
When asked whether he recommends other CIOs to undertake a similar assignment, he says, "Definitely, absolutely".
"You will have a deep understanding of how the business operates."
Pilot a project
Thomas Salmen has moved from CTO to general manager of the venture enablement team at Spark Ventures.
"The digital transformation area is the thing that is happening more and more," says Salmen, who was previously CTO of Kordia and Orcon.
"Getting into the mind-set on digital transformation is pretty critical," says Salmen.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.