Digital transformation a team sport, CIOs need to be captains

  • South-East Asian CIOs need to move from transactional role to strategic play
  • Need to introduce leadership, delivery and talent to the organisation
Digital transformation a team sport, CIOs need to be captains

DIGITAL transformation is happening whether the chief information officer (CIO) is ready for it or not.
And while CIOs in South-East Asia grapple with understanding what this means, and deploying what the organisation needs, they also need to make a mindset shift.
In essence, they need to move out from the usual transactional relationship they have with the business and become a strategic contributor, according to Gartner Inc principal analyst Sid Deshpande.
“CIOs have not always been viewed as strategic contributors [in South-East Asia],” he told Digital News Asia (DNA) in Singapore recently.
“IT has been their domain, while business has been the domain of the business,” he added.
But in the light of technology becoming fundamental to business, CIOs need to make that shift.
“Leading-edge organisations are seeing CIOs moving from transactional partners to trusted allies,” said Deshpande.
“CIOs in such organisations will be seen as strategic contributors to decisions around technology and business risk.
“If an organisation is engaging in digital business or initiatives for new revenue streams, or even to just introduce efficiencies, that shift has to happen and that relationship has to change for that to be effective,” he added.
Lead the charge, work together
Digital transformation a team sport, CIOs need to be captainsWhile CIOs have been comfortable in driving IT implementation at organisations, they need to step up and lead the organisation’s digital transformation.
In this, they have support from the top. According to Deshpande (pic), when Gartner asked chief executive officers (CEOs) and CIOs in the region who should lead their digital transformation, the majority of both agreed it should be the CIO.
“But they [CEOs] gave equal preference to the other C-suite roles – the message that is coming out is that CEOs expect CIOs to lead digital transformation, but they expect it to be a team sport,” he said.
“…CIOs need to work well with other teams and functions – perhaps even departments like legal and finance, departments they traditionally did not work with,” he added.
CIOs need to take on the armband and be the leader of the digital transformation, while working together with other senior executives.
“The one big thing that CIOs need to do to make themselves useful to the organisation from a business perspective, treating digital leadership as a team sport is the key point, because everything flows from there,” said Deshpande.
Related Stories:
CIOs need to focus on vision, not control: Gartner
No excuses: Malaysian CIOs have an edge, says Gartner
CIOs making their presence felt in the boardroom: BT study
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