1. Knowledge of the business (strategy, vision, goals).
You cannot build a digital business without understanding the business. If you are not familiar with the line of business you might be working in. It will be difficult to understand how digital can create value for that line of business and the organization .
2. Digital and technological skills (business analytics, data mining, systems engineering).
Today’s CIO is expected to have a deep understanding of technology and how it is used in an organization. A CIO must understand the ways in which technology is used to drive a company’s strategy. Technology can be deployed in a way that will help align employees behind an organization’s mission and vision.
The CIO must also be able to communicate with engineers on a level they can understand.
So that IT is not seen as an obstacle to accomplishing business goals. As a strategic partner that helps the organization achieve its goals.
3. Business acumen (profitability, market share).
A CIO must understand how IT can affect profit and loss (P&L) at a company and how IT can be used to increase market share or allow for more efficient operations.
4. Leadership skills (managing change).
A CIO needs strong leadership skills to manage and lead IT departments through change—and all organizations are currently going through or preparing for change right now. A CIO has to be able to manage this change to keep IT aligned with the strategic goals of the organization. The ability to manage change also includes being able to manage up, down, and sideways within the organization—and this means developing interpersonal skills as well as project management skills.
5. Strategic thinking (thinking outside the box).
The CIO must think about ways in which IT can drive business value through innovation—and this includes developing new products or services that make users’ lives easier or add value to products or services offered by the company. In addition to being creative, good strategic thinkers are also able to put in place their ideas into real projects that pay off financially for their companies.
To perform these roles successfully requires deep knowledge of at least one functional area—for example, marketing or sales—as well as a broader understanding of the industry your company operates in.
While all companies today are being forced by competition and changing customer demands into becoming digital businesses themselves, there are still many companies where IT is seen as an overhead cost rather than an investment that drives growth and profitability over time.
To get better results out of your IT department than you are currently getting, first check your own role within your company as a leader who has direct impact on how your IT department runs day-to-day operations and projects that help your company become more digital over time. Each of these roles listed above will be discussed in detail in the following chapters.
THE CIO’S CHALLENGES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Digital business requires a new way of thinking about the role of IT within companies—and a new set of responsibilities for IT departments.
As IT becomes more and more digital, the role of CIO as it has traditionally been known will change, and is changing, dramatically. The role of the CIO will continue to expand into many areas that are not directly related to the IT department, but will be critical to driving a company’s success.
This trend is already well underway, and if you are currently working as a CIO or aspire to become a CIO one day, it is important that you understand your own responsibilities as they relate to your company’s success and how you can take your organization into the future.
As discussed above , digital business is transforming all industries, and all companies are being forced to become more digital to stay competitive in today’s marketplace.
New digital competitors are emerging every day who are more agile and more innovative than their traditional counterparts; these digital players understand how technology can drive value within their businesses and have become adept at using technology to differentiate their products or services from those offered by competitors.
In order for an established company to compete effectively with these new companies and remain relevant in today’s marketplace, it must also become more digitally savvy across its entire organization—and this means that IT must play a larger role than ever before within these companies moving forward.
This is why many organizations have identified IT as being at the center of their strategy, because they know that technology is at the center of everything people do today—from communication to shopping—and if an organization wants to compete for customers in today’s dynamic marketplace, it must have state-of-the-art technology that allows it to be agile and nimble enough to keep up with customers’ needs.
Since IT departments manage much of this technology that customers interact with on a daily basis, they are often seen as valuable partners when it comes to helping organizations achieve their business goals—and this means that the role of the CIO will change dramatically over time so that IT can help drive revenue growth for their companies instead of just maintaining existing systems or keeping up with ever-changing technology standards.
While becoming digitally savvy is one very important aspect of creating a digitally driven business, there are other areas where IT has always played a major role that will also change significantly over time—and this includes areas such as:
Business strategy. The CIO must understand the company’s business plan and how IT can help fulfill that plan to create more value for the company.
Business operations. The CIO must understand how IT can be used to help drive operational efficiency within an organization.
Marketing and sales. IT has always played a role in improving the customer experience.
Now it is even more important for IT to help make customers happy by providing them with the technology that makes their lives easier—
This means that IT must also become a strategic partner with marketing and sales when it comes to identifying ways technology can be used to attract and keep customers.
Financial management. The CIO must understand how IT can be used to optimize spending to make sure money is spent wisely on projects and systems that will create more value for the company over time.
As CIO, you will continue to be responsible for all aspects of your organization’s technology, but you will also play a much larger role in helping your company become more successful than it currently is.
To do this successfully requires that you take on new responsibilities that go beyond managing your IT department—and these include:
Leading the digital transformation within your organization so that it can keep pace with changing market dynamics.
Continually updating your technology so that you are not left behind by new technology developments.
Creating new products or services through innovation or business process change so that your business can remain relevant in today’s market.
Becoming a strategic partner with other departments within your company so that you can help fulfill your company’s mission and vision by aligning IT with business goals.
Becoming a digitally driven business requires a complete transformation of existing businesses—and this transformation is very challenging, especially for traditional companies that have been around for decades and have seen little change during their lifetimes.
The Transformation of a Traditional Business
Let’s take a look at an example of a traditional company that is going through the transformation.
The company was founded in the 1950s and has been around for more than 50 years. It has 300 employees, and it develops and manufactures products and provides services to customers. Although its revenues have grown over the years, its growth rate has been slowing down for quite some time now.
The company is using traditional marketing methods such as advertising, PR, and trade shows, but they are not being successful in generating new business.
This company realizes that to remain competitive in today’s market, it needs to experiment with new digital marketing channels such as social media and SEO.
Up until this point, its marketing budget has been limited to traditional methods with little success. So instead of doubling down on traditional techniques, it decides to take a more forward-thinking approach and allocate 20% (or $1 million) of its annual marketing budget toward digital marketing programs that have proven track records; this is when the transformation begins.
The company starts by integrating social media into its existing customer service practices; for example, it asks customers to rate their experience by leaving a review on one of the social networks or blogs they like most.
This allows the company to improve its customer service process in real time without having to wait for customer complaints via email or regular mail. Also, rather than taking months to launch a new product or service, the company can now introduce products and services online within days or weeks—or even shorter with social media tools like crowdfunding platforms.
Social media has allowed the company to compete against companies with much larger budgets than itself; it no longer has to rely on expensive print ads or TV ads that most people are ignoring anyway.
As a result of this new approach, customers are purchasing more from this company and are recommending it more often online—thus growing its online presence even further. The company is now able to penetrate new markets that were previously inaccessible because of its limited budget;
for example, markets where people do not speak English as their first language. It is also able to reach out to interested parties in Latin America and Asia where it had previously had little success because of high shipping costs and language barriers.