There’s nothing more dangerous for a company than routine. “It has always worked well”: that’s the typical answer of managers when questioned about the opportunity to improve something by changing the process behind it. In the digital transformation age, CIOs are particularly challenged by change, as the tumultuous introduction of new technologies has completely subverted the paradigms they were used to.
Production processes have mostly been digitalized, and innovations such as advanced robotics, Industrial IoT, 3D printing, virtual and augmented reality increase agility, accuracy and productivity – but require a new generation of integrated software and related services. The same evolution applies to any other business domain, from logistics to marketing, from sales to finance.
This means CIOs need to shed their IT support’s skin and get ready to proactively steer the digital shift, as some of their decisions are potentially impacting on the entire company and its future strategies, making the difference between forward-looking organizations and static, wilting businesses.
As IT is moving from a ‘pull’ to a ‘push’ mode, new competences and skills in emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, blockchain or cybersecurity will become more and more essential, so IT staff and resources will probably need to be strengthened.
But it’s, first of all, a matter of mindset. Many CIOs still describe themselves as IT managers, thus missing the point of their new mission, that is business enablers. They shouldn’t limit on IT services anymore, but grow their role and contribution to the business as a whole, boosting innovation in any process to add further value.
Technology will be a decisive strategic lever for companies of any size, and visionary people are fundamental to make the digital revolution happen. The time when CIOs will take over CEOs might not be such far away.
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