New world, new CIO: How emerging realities are shaping the CIO’s job

In a relatively brief time span, technologies like cloud, edge computing, artificial intelligence, and IoT have taken center stage, and new innovative technologies keep emerging.

We’re now navigating a technological landscape that’s growing exponentially more complex and rapidly changing, one that increasingly exceeds the ability of human intelligence to keep pace. This landscape is characterized by:
Hyperconnectivity. There are billions of devices, including IoT sensors, mobile phones, external services, and more—and trillions of connections.
Granularity. Software ranges from large, one-piece mainframe programs to the small microservices of today’s native cloud environments.
•Dynamism. As-a-service apps leverage resources that are constantly, automatically being spun up and spun down.
•Convergence. Where technology silos used to be the norm, those divisions are eroding. Operational technology (OT) is one key example. These are the systems that do sensing, monitoring, and controlling of physical systems, such as building management technologies and robotic assembly lines. OT systems are increasingly becoming intertwined with information technology (IT), the systems that handle creating, storing, and exchanging data and information, such as CRM and financial apps. Increasingly, OT and IT are being used together to deliver complete business services. This is true for companies in manufacturing, health care, financial services, and virtually every other industry.

Business examples of the OT/IT convergence

As organizations fulfill digital transformation mandates, integration of OT and IT becomes pivotal. Here are some examples:
Retail. Through connected devices, a grocery retailer can learn about stock availability and expiration dates throughout the supply chain. In this way, teams can ensure each store has the inventory it needs and leverage dynamic pricing, for example, to apply discounts for soon-to-be-expired goods.
Transportation. Teams can use IoT sensors to monitor where their assets are, when they were last serviced, how long they’ve been in operation, and what condition they’re in. Based on this information, they can then plan maintenance and work schedules more intelligently.

Changing nature of the CIO’s role

Whether an organization’s top strategic charters relate to delivering differentiated customer engagement, enhancing cost efficiency, expanding sustainably, or growing revenue, the CIO plays an increasingly pivotal role in successful outcomes.

As the technology domain evolves, so does the role of the CIO.

The successful CIO of the future will not be very technical. As technologies continue to evolve rapidly and grow ever more granular and complex, it gets nearly impossible for anyone to become an expert in all technologies.

More than ever, CIOs will need to focus on aligning high-level technology strategy with business objectives to ensure their organizations remain competitive.

In this endeavor, the CIO will need to understand the art of simplicity, modularity, and composability, and connect the dots between digital, data, platforms, and value. These attributes are vital as CIOs look to create an adaptable digital foundation that facilitates integrated business operations and accelerated business innovation.

Navigating the move from CIO to CDO

As organizations and technology evolve, so must the role of the CIO. In many organizations, technology domains have started to converge, and digital transformation has moved from a focused program to business as usual. As the nature of digital continues to get ever more business-integral, the roles of the CIO, CTO, and digital transformation officer (DTO) are also converging. As a result, a new executive role is on the rise: the chief digital officer (CDO).

Navigating this transition will not be easy, and it will be especially difficult for those who aren’t ready to embrace change. To find out how one successful CIO is navigating this transformation, be sure to watch a recording of Douglas Goodridge, CIO for the Williams F1 racing team sharing his insight.

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IT Leadership