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Change the CIO role to deliver business value

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Kathy Gibson reports from Infracom 2016 – When making a decision on new technology investment, CIOs have to consider the business value that they will produce.
In fact, the CIO has to transition his own role to ensure that he can do this, says Malcolm MacDonald from Clientele Life.
And there’s a new set of roles that could unseat the CIO if they don’t make the transition. “They need to engage in the right places,” MacDonald says.
New positions like chief data officer, chief digital officer, chief security officer and chief privacy officer are all emerging, and are relevant in different organisations.
“There are a number of different strategies that the CIO has to integrate together,” he says.
The first of these is the IT strategy, which is not about IT at all, MacDonald points out, but looks at what the business is that is being supported by IT.
The second is the technology strategy and centres around architectures and roadmaps.
The digital strategy is relatively new, and is around engagement; where the organisation meets customers and staff members.
The CIO’s final strategy needs to focus on emerging things, the disruptions that could be moving into the organisation’s market.
“The CIO has always had to consider all these things: how to run the business, what to run it with, how to engage, and what’s coming down the line,” MacDonald says. “The difference is that in the digital world, this is all happening very fast.”
There are also new elements now falling under the CIO’s purview, he adds. For instance, the converged data centre now has to worry about security, feet tracking, CCTV and building automation. The enterprise project office also now becomes the CIO’s problem.
In terms of customer facing systems, CIOs now also have to concern themselves with social media, SEO, and the ultimate customer experience. There is also a new need to deal with and analyse big data.
A number of human resources issues are also additional items that could end up on the CIO’s scorecard, like onboarding and e-learning.
“The question is, do we take on the new skills, or do we bring in another CxO to handle them?” MacDonald asks.
He points out, however, that some of the new CIO imperatives could work well outside of the CIO’s office. For instance, a chief digital officer should report to the marketing and media head; a chief data officer could report to the chief operating officer and, in turn, to the risk committee.
MacDonald stress that there are four imperatives for the CIO. They are:
• Deliver – finish what is already on your plate;
• Consistency – create processes around important concerns and meet regularly;
• Align – understand the business, and educate everyone on IT;
• Partner with business – participate in creating business strategy.
“This builds trust,” MacDonald says. “CIOs need to be in a position of trust to participate in all the discussions.”
The bottom line, he says, is that the CIO will end up with additional accountability.
Issues that will be important in the future, MacDonald believes, will include new legislation relating to privacy, data protection, cybercrimes and governance, trends in first world markets with will flow to emerging markets; and the new digital disruptors.