Are you ready for the digital future and the ever-continuing flux that will constitute the role of the modern IT leader?
More than anything else, CIO Connect’s 2012 Horizons research of more than 200 technology executives shows the target for high-quality IT leaders in the digital age is getting broader and wider. As the executive responsible for technology, the CIO looking to take advantage of the leadership opportunity must embrace transformation for the benefit of the business.
IT leaders are used to change; in short, they have to be. The mechanics – the basic building blocks of the IT industry – change and flex almost continuously with time. Today’s fundamental business technology has always been tomorrow’s potential legacy system.
But decades of enterprise IT implementations mean constrictions associated with legacy technology have become an issue common to all businesses, regardless of sector or specialism. And the modern pace of change in the digital age could, from the point of view of the sceptic, serve to create more complexity.
CIOs who managed what seemed like the fast-paced transformation associated with distributed computing and electronic commerce, now find themselves confronted with lightning speed change. The confluence of mobile, consumer, cloud and social technologies means the defensible enterprise perimeter has become a nebulous concept.
Our Horizons research shows CIOs recognise employees now demand a free choice of mobile device, and use such tools to draw on enterprise information on-demand. Building a firewall and locking down access is no longer an option because technology, and the knowledge it enables, is being democratised.
Yet the pace of change is no reason to be scared. Savvy CIOs are embracing consumerisation and showing the business how technology can help engage with customers whose opinions were previously hidden. It is the CIO, rather than the marketing director or another c-level strategist, who must grasp the nettle and demonstrate how going digital improves the business.
Responding CIOs also recognise that the cloud, although in its infancy, could help the business to really use IT flexibly and to create an approach to technology that concentrates on value-added outcomes, rather than being constrained by the fears of legacy infrastructures.
Now is your opportunity to finally address the embedded perceptions of the IT department, where the technology team is viewed as practising a dark art that only acts to reduce the potential for change. Leadership in the digital age means the converse is now true and CIOs must show a business-enabled approach to IT that is agile and light-to-the-touch.
Your first step towards success – whether working as a change leader, digital designer or a shared services executive – is to grab the attention of the chief executive and to work with trusted partners to deliver set objectives that relate to specific business outcomes. Now, more than ever before, is your opportunity to change the business for the better.
The above column summarised CIO Connect’s 2012 Horizons survey and was included in the recently released edition (issue 37) of CIO Connect magazine