Australian CIOs need to focus on these four areas

By Harry Allan

With a large proportion of organisational technology spend now outside of the CIO’s budget, it is clear that the future role of the CIO will be different than it is today. However, with the right focus, CIOs can both lead and enable the business, according to CSC Consulting.

Michael Billimoria, CTO, CSC Consulting, said, “If you were to ask a CIO where they wanted to get to, almost all would opt for a digital leadership destination. However, regardless of CIO aspirations to be digital leaders, they are still ultimately charged with running day-to-day technology operations efficiently and effectively, and there is no one else in the organisation equipped for that role.

“To be fair, for most CIOs, the ultimate destination will be somewhere in the middle, between strategic business leader and tactical IT manager. But it’s a fine line to walk. In order to achieve a balance between both roles, CIOs must focus on four key principle areas: platforms, delivery revolution; innovation and optimisation; and business narrative.”

1. Platforms

 Platforms are the core technological construct for running a digital business and provide CIOs the ability to manage workloads securely and seamlessly across clouds and legacy systems. They must become cloud-based, available on demand and mine deep knowledge of business processes in a specific domain to create an enterprise-grade solution available as a service.

Platforms are the foundation for digital enablement, and must be set up for lasting business value and be resilient to the changes affecting a digital business.

2. Delivery revolution

There is currently a powerful combination for a delivery revolution through agile, DevOps and Lean Change. Organisations that embrace and integrate these will deliver in ways that will renew overall business confidence in technology departments.

Most believe that automation is the key focus area for effective delivery, but a delivery revolution also demands new ways of thinking and working. While the revolution commonly begins in teams at a certain point, structural change is also required. This in turn, demands an organisational culture shift.

3. Innovation and optimisation

It’s getting harder to keep up because the speeds of development and improvement are making existing products and services obsolete faster. Most organisations are struggling to change their operating model for innovation and start-up thinking. The problem is, the longer an organisation waits to change, the greater the gap between the traditional business and innovative digital competitors, and the velocity differential continues to widen. Innovation is not easy, but embedding it within the organisation is key.

There is no choice but to simply prepare for disruption. To survive and prosper, this entails becoming resilient to disruption within your own markets, or entering new ones.

4. Business narrative

Perhaps the most important area of focus for CIOs aiming for the perfect destination is mastering the art of getting the right message across their organisation. This requires working closely with other business leaders to craft a business narrative. It’s critically important to align with fellow leaders to develop a consistent technology story and keep it aligned across the organisation. Make the business narrative simple, but not simplistic. It must be clear, relevant, business-focused and backed up by facts or it will fail.

Billimoria said, “We don’t believe that Australian CIOs must make a decision between an ‘everything digital’ or ‘strictly keeping the lights on’ role. The road to the future is about understanding what you’ve got, then bringing the different silos in your enterprise together in a collaborative way.”

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