Shifting cultures: CIOs need to lead the charge

  • CIOs optimising processes for business, not just reducing cost anymore
  • The CIO is becoming the chief change officer in terms of cultural shifts
Shifting cultures: CIOs need to lead the charge

 
THE role of the chief information officer (CIO) has changed from purely IT-centric to one that now encompasses business functions. Today’s CIOs are talking about processes that optimise, rather than just push costs down.
 
This shift by CIOs is relatively recent, according to BMC Asia Pacific regional vice president Gavin Selkirk (pic above), who said that such conversations even five years ago revolved around costs.
 
“I don’t have those conversations with CIOs anymore – I have conversations around how I provide value from solutions like cloud automation and workload automation,” he told Digital News Asia (DNA) in Singapore recently.
 
“The conversations I’m having with CIOs is around how they can optimise their business … that is a big shift in that respect.
 
“The challenge and change organisations have to manage is how CIOs can effectively integrate, understand and communicate to the business the value they can drive with the digital services they can provide,” he added.
 
Cultural shift
 
Selkirk believes that technology plays an important role in enabling cultural shifts within an organisation.
 
“Technology is the absolute cornerstone of [how] a cultural shift can be enabled,” he said.
 
“Disruption is a cultural change which is being led by the CIO, so it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that the CIO is becoming the chief change officer because it is being led by technology,” he added.
 
CIOs are enjoying this new challenge, according to Selkirk.
 
“For the longest time, CIOs were just CIOs – what did they know about the business?
 
“[But] when I talk to CIOs at very large banks in mainland China, they are more concerned with the disruption driven by fintech (financial services technology),” he said.
 
Disruptors like fintech startups are driving talk of digital transformation within traditional businesses.
 
“If businesses are not willing to move at the speed business is moving at, it will get tough,” Selkirk said, citing as an example Kodak, which failed to keep up with “fundamental drivers and shifts in the world” and is no longer in business.
 
“There is no longer a choice for organisations to not recognise the value that IT plays in managing this transformation,” he added.
 
And this change is not just something enterprises have to handle, but also small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
 
“Lots of small organisations are driving growth and it is important for them as well,” Selkirk said.
 
“This digital economy is not just about large enterprises changing but also about all the SMEs changing as well,” he added.

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