In the era of digital transformation CIOs need to evaluate at their traditional roles; you can no longer be the old age CIO content to support and procure IT infrastructure you will be dead CIO soon butif you can transform yourself into a role of the digital CIO, you will live long.
The choice between death and life is purely yours – Dear CIO – as the outcome will be based on the choices you make. Do you want to cling to the old ways of managing resources, infrastructure, networks, and application development and protect your turf by building proprietary solutions for your business and refusing to adopt the new technology solutions on offer? Do you want to be a dinosaur to be consigned to history?
If you are keen to transform into a new age digital CIO who is innovative, strategic, focused and process driven & a business savvy leader, then here are some new skills to be learnt. In a fast paced world of technology disruptions driven by innovation and a demanding business leadership, you will need to transform into a new avatar to survive in the world of technology commodification and learn to use and implement new technologies like teleportation for travel. You will need to scale your leadership ability to work with the board, the leadership team, with your colleagues, business partners (old name: vendors) to achieve your business goals. Are you the leader who can get every team member to drive in unison to reach business goals, profitability and innovation? Are you prepared to score a perfect 10 in the organizations digital transformation journey?

To be valued by your Board – the team that steers the enterprise business, you need knowledge of business laws, compliance, business dynamics and board room etiquette. Leadership and meet expectation of your peers. The members of the Board are demanding demanding an you need to become adept at relationships, power games and political outmaneuvers.
If you are in the oil and gas business, you need to know the details of the upstream and downstream business, the complexity of drilling, transporting and refining and the challenges of leasing piping and equipment.
Information will be the key to the future, you need to be adept in understanding how you can analyze and deliver data to business to increase profits and optimize cost of services.
If you are a chocolate maker, you will need to use technology to optimize the use of ingredients, temperature and pressure and other parameters to deliver chocolates of consistent quality at the lowest cost to manufacture. Here, the data points are complex and you will need to understand the use of analytics and algorithms in achieving your business goals to manufacture the best chocolates at the most economical cost of manufacturing.
This needs a 360 degree approach in understanding your business processes and how you can improve the business outcome by use of digital transformation.
John Deere helps farmers benefit from real-time monitoring of data collected from thousands of other farmers, this helps the farmers decide on the cropping pattern and the quantum of fertilizer, pesticide and water needed. Most of the data is collected from sensors attached to their own John Deere machines as they use them on their farms and also from data from other sources in the world. Could you ever imagine a tractor company making a sea change to a farmer’s life? This is one of those great outliers in customer empowerment.
You need to be comfortable in managing customers. You will have to interact and solve your customer’s demands, if you do not have the ability to handle customers you may need to fix your customer handling skills. Customer management will be a demanding role and your will need to deliver customer empowerment and customer self-service solutions.
Do you have the vision and the digital solutions to empower your customers to serve themselves and be delighted with their digital interface into your organization.
Banking has transformed itself from the high street to the palm of the customer, the same revolution will be essential for every business to retain its customers. The classic case of Coke using IOT to help its customers fix their drinks they way they like it is a classic case of ingenious use of technology to retain customers and increase sales. Another story is of the Starbucks seamless customer experience across all channels, they can check their Starbucks card balance on their phones, on the Starbucks website or at the store. Any change in data is updated real time in all the channels and the money loaded or points redeemed or earned by use of either the phone, the website or at the store.
Diversity is a key area where you need to be on top, diversity is good for business and you will need to be an all-encompassing leader who manages a team on merit and attitude. Do you have the ability to be a good listener and also erase any biases you may hold about some of you colleagues?
You will need to have on tap the global landscape and events in a connected world as the time lag between a global event and its impact is shrinking. In the future, this will be in real time. If there is a disaster in a country, the whole world will have the information in minutes rather than in hours.
Can you gaze into the crystal ball and predict the future trends that will impact your business. You will need to track global trends that are transforming global businesses in months rather than in years?
There is a flood of new ideas in using digital transformation in business innovation?
We could never predict the impact of Uber on the taxi and car rental business, we could not never imagine the creation of Uber in our crystal gazing. Can you spot the next Uber which may destroy your business, can you future proof your business?
If you are in the transportation business are you ready for the unleashing of teleporting of humans for travel which is feasible in the near future? How will your business survive teleporting? Do you have the integrity to lead and transform your business with digital transformation as the enabler? Can you do the right thing for your business and be flexible to adapt the new digital delivery paradigms.
Can you be honest and step off the treadmill when you believe you are overwhelmed by new digital technology solutions and voluntarily retire from your role as the CIO? These are some of the integrity challenges you must start preparing in the future.
Are you a strategic thinker who can translate strategic business intent into reality?
The CIO will need to spend immense amount of time of strategy which will be in quarterly plans for action rather than five year strategy plans, today even the Board cannot predict where the business will be in 5 years.
Can you keep up with this demanding pace, where strategic intent will need to be delivered in weeks rather than years, where success and failure will be measured by business outcome in weeks rather than years?
Are you ready to don a strategic think cap and lead your business into glory in a real time digital world?
Are you agile and prepared to ride the ever changing landscape?
Do you have the ability to provide solutions in days rather than months and the energy to change direction with ease to achieve business goals.
Big data and analytics will be passé in a few years, the future will be real time analysis of data and decisions based on algorithmic engines at speeds unheard of in today’s world.
Are you ready to harness these new digital economic engines? Can you wear the hat of a real time data scientist?
CIO are you ready for Digital Transformation?