In a previous post on Transformation and the CIO I explained why I thought that CIOs were uniquely placed to drive business transformation. With the economy still struggling, the need for technology enabled innovation and transformation has never been greater. CIOs can play a key role in helping lead their organisations out of these challenging times.
Here are three ways in which I beleive CIOs can start the transformation process in 2012:
- Unlock existing assets: look at the organisation’s existing processes, systems and data and think about how they can be opened up to customers, partners, suppliers and other stakeholders. Opening up your systems to external stakeholders can remove process cost, reduce cycle times and lock customers into your organisation. Or think about how you can unlock the potential value in the data held by your organisation. Every day this data set gets bigger and probably more valuable. Does this have value to your internal or external stakeholders? What if it were made available in real-time? How can it be sliced, analysed or presented to provide insight?
- Embrace consumerisation: whatever your views about the consumerisation of IT (CoIT) it is happening and it is going to have a big impact on the corporate IT landscape and the way in which we use technology in the workplace. Spearheaded by the drive to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to work and supported from the board room down, consumerisation is gaining momentum and as a CIO you need to be at the centre, driving, shaping and leading the CoIT within your organisation. So give up any thoughts you may have of resisting consumerisation and start thinking about how to facilitate BYOD and ‘consumerise’ your core systems. How about mobile versions of your corporate systems for staff to use when away from the office? What about deploying mobile enabled social media and communication tools to encourage knowledge sharing and collaboration across distributed teams?
- Head for the cloud: Well just about everyone is talking about cloud so it had to be on the list didn’t it? But I’m not talking about rushing to push all your hardware and systems out of the door to a service provider. Whilst that may be the end game, these things take time, planning and careful consideration. And there is a lot of investment tied up in the servers and software sitting in your data centre which I doubt the CFO would be keen to write-off in one financial year. But now is the time to do the planning, to work out your cloud strategy, decide where cloud will work for your organisation and where it will not. This is a debate that needs to be led by the CIO – you have to own the cloud agenda and not have it set by other departments. But look for quick wins along the way; think about how you can start using cloud offerings alongside the core platform now to enable a new capability or to reduce cost. Is there a gap in functionality that can be filled with a cloud service? Is there a complicated or expensive upgrade that can be avoided by going into the cloud? What about e-mail provision?
Key to driving transformation is having the support of your C-level colleagues. So whatever initiatives you decide to work on, make sure you get their buy-in. Work with your peers to identify the opportunities, develop solutions and run pilots. Developing these relationships will encourage your colleagues to seek your input in the future and will help your own transformation from technology specialist to business leader.