“Most companies understand that digital change will impact strategy and have decided to improve their digital capabilities.” That’s according to Diane Morello, a VP and Gartner Fellow. “They also understand that this undertaking requires a new kind of leadership.” The analyst firm’s CIO Leadership e-book, ‘Gartner Insights on How Leaders Innovate for Digital Success’offers more.
- The CIO’s rapidly evolving role will continue to affect each aspect of the responsibilities and goals of the job. As the enterprise moves toward a digital frontier, CIOs are becoming trusted allies to the C-suite.
- With this responsibility comes an opportunity to drive change in the organisation and expand innovation beyond the IT department.
Harnessing top talent will be essential, especially as CIOs become leaders in mapping the blueprint for the future of the company and ensuring that business units are driving digital to the core to increase revenue and business opportunities.
CIOs must embrace their new influence and power
To ensure they stick to their digital business transformation plans, says Gartner, more CEOs are choosing to head up digital change. When they delegate primary responsibility, the next most likely leader is the CIO. How your CIO relates to the C-suite will be an important part of a successful transformation.
According to Gartner CEO research, one third of CEOs and senior executives characterise their CIOs as trusted allies and nearly half see CIOs as partners — a testament to CIOs’ growing credibility and impact. CIOs themselves, however, have a more tentative view of their own influence and power. The 2016 Gartner CIO Survey shows that CIOs see the relationship more as a transactional one, than one of trusted allies.
Gartner advises CIOs to take the following action:
- Look across different industries for examples of successful digital businesses.
- Determine if you’re a trusted ally, a partner, a transactional CIO or an at-risk CIO.
- Establish the best way to become a trusted ally of the CEO and lead the digital business.
- Forge new partnerships across the business, including in the non-technical community.
- Begin the shift from a culture of control to one of influence.
Lead the C-suite on the digital journey
As a CIO, to help your enterprise survive and ultimately thrive in a digital business world, you need to “step up to the plate in digital business leadership, recognise this as a team sport, and bring the business leadership and the IT team with you,” says Lee Weldon, managing vice president at Gartner.
This new digital business leader creates an innovative journey that starts at the top and takes digital to the core of the business. The journey begins by understanding the key disruptive forces you can harness to disrupt your industry or your own organisation.
To provide leadership on this journey, Gartner advises CIOs to play a proactive role in leading the digital transformation and innovation among the C-suite. CIOs need to transform IT from a back-office function to a source of innovation providing future revenue streams. This requires, says Gartner, the creation of a roadmap for the digital journey, starting at the top.
Harness disruptive forces for your advantage
To compete in this digital era, CEOs (and CIOs and other divisional leaders) must extend digital business from isolated pockets to the core of products, strategy and business models.
Many enterprises have made a start with digital business by digitalising physical products or turning data of interest to customers into a service. Now, says Gartner, they need to take digital to the core of strategy and products.
A word on attracting top talent
Although 66% of CIOs believe there is a talent crisis, few have taken steps to adapt their recruiting and retention strategies to acclimate to the digital world.
Gartner maintains that CIOs need to recognise the challenges in obtaining top talent, which is key to innovation and digital success. You must leverage creative ways to attract candidates with non-traditional requirements to create a solid team framework. This will be key to meeting the new goals and responsibilities of this evolving role of CIO.
- Create a talent platform that captures data and analysis about employees — current or potential — and talented individuals. This entails seeking talent from the rest of the business through mutually beneficial developmental plans.
- Tap relationships with educational institutions for more internships and research partnerships focused on key digital era capabilities. You may also consider acquisitions of small tech companies as a way of capturing talent.
Unlock innovation across the business via bi-modal delivery, including co-located multi-disciplinary teams. Why not use the resources of start-ups and new service providers as an extension of your internal talent community?