The disruptive forces of SMAC-IoT and the new data insights continue to present opportunities and challenges for all businesses and industries. Customer preferences, thereby experiences and expectations of business services are changing at an unprecedented pace. New competitors and challengers are evolving rapidly, altering existing market dynamics or creating new markets.  This will only accelerate in 2016 and beyond.

In this scenario, how do CIOs bring together technology and business to enable transformations and change within the enterprise? What skill sets are paramount to develop rapid change for better results? How do CIOs co-opt in transformational strategies with business leaders as well execute these strategies for success, in their organisations? Firstly, CIOs need to partner with business leaders. This means developing acute business and strategy mind-set to be able to work with CXOs. (see our previous blog on ‘Crossing the Chasm’). Particularly given the customers’ digital presence and preferences, a full understanding of digital and physical channels (Omni-Channel) and their inter-relationships and integration is critical. How can customers, partners, suppliers, channels and other key stakeholders such as Government, be served on this emerging platform, in innovative, cost-effective ways, experiencing unique business values? (Try mapping this on Porter’s Value-Chain). How does this translate company’s vision and values into market values that derive higher revenue, at better profitability while ensuring sustainable competitive advantage?  

Top CIOs are increasingly part of these strategic, transformational discussions with the business leaders.

CIOs must understand, engage and transform, knowing well the business strategy.

This transformational thinking, also calls for significant ‘change’ in the attitude towards people, process and platforms.  This means, working with business leaders, partnering with business teams, managing change and culture within IT to drive better responsiveness to building solutions and engaging and delivering the right experiences to customers and communities. Here the transformational thinking is about delivering technology, not just to satisfy internal stakeholder, but also innovating them rapidly for company’s customer-centric ways.

CIOs must know technology and deliver rapid innovation to company and its customers.

This transformational thinking extends beyond planning to execution as well. CIOs are implementing these new strategies though IT projects across the enterprise. They are building and delivering IT solutions within these dynamic operational environments, changing cultures and capabilities of people. These systems need to be agile, adaptive and open to new ways of working. They need to ensure equally critical priorities of our enterprise, such as Security, Governance, Risk management and Compliance, as required by Corporate, Industry or Legislative mandates. Thus managing culture as part of the transformation is a critical skill.

CIOs must deliver better culture with security, governance, risk and compliance.

On the technology infra-structure side, all of this may require consolidation or co-location of teams and resources. They need to deliver training and support for users and customers introducing new methods. All of the above, need to follow a systematic approach using well defined methods of architecting and building solutions such as TOGAF,   Agile or other frameworks.

CIOs must architect the transformation.

Thus CIOs are developing broad set of superior skills, allowing them to combine technology with business need.  Besides bringing technology value internally, they are increasingly comfortable working with business leaders on new strategies that bring exceptional value to customers externally. This is truly the mark of a transformational leader.

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