How do CIOs make a difference in the digital economy?


The single over-riding principle is that your job is to make a difference. How you achieve that is dependent on your skills and your corporate environment. Maybe you choose to make the CEO into a hero. Maybe you embark on educating other department heads. Maybe you choose to fill a vacuum in the corporate strategy. But what you cannot afford to do is to act solely as guardian of the IT assets.

In the search for those over-arching principles, a good place to start would be to read Judith Rodin’s Resilience Dividend *. Judith’s search for ‘resilience’ was focused on the public sector. But the key learning was that benefits will flow from recognising recovery from a crisis should not be about getting back to the way things were. Any crisis is a learning experience not to be wasted. Every change provides opportunities to move on and build greater capacity to withstand future shocks – whatever they may be.

In our corporate environments, far from eliminating disruptions we must thrive on them – and the honour flows to those who see the most possibilities. As CIO you’ll not be unaware of corporate calamities. But how are you using that awareness to build greater resilience? Is that really how you see your job? Is that how you are measured? If not in your ‘required role’, then who will take on board this learning and make it happen?

Where is the scope for easier coordination of responses? Where is the scope for rethinking ‘the way we do things’? Where are the opportunities to import new skills? How are we using creative capacities to envisage new ways of serving customers? – new ways of delivering services? – new ways of developing propositions that are informed by the new-found digital capabilities of customers?

Chief Information Officer – you have a duty of care for data management and the deployment of applications and assets, but now the job title implies that you are the force for change, the revolutionary, the informed person that must inform others. For revolutionary guidance – look here.

* The Resilience Dividend by Judith Rodin. ISBN:  978-1610394703

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