With ever-increasing challenges facing companies operating in the modern business environment, ranging from IT budgetary costs through to unpredictable load-shedding by Eskom, this may not be enough for CIOs to help their companies realise the fulﬁlment of the digital promise. For companies to continually achieve more and do more with less, using any device from virtually anywhere, their CIOs must take on a strong digital leadership role in the transformation of their businesses.
CIOs need to focus less on the day-to-day running of IT departments and instead concentrate their eﬀorts on championing digital within the business. According to Gartner, a gung-ho command-and-control leadership style is a sure-ﬁre recipe for failure in the digital world. CIOs should rather adopt a visionary and inspirational leadership style, in which they encourage employees to innovate and take the lead on projects to maximise hidden potential.
Achieving this will involve educating and inspiring the business around digital transformation, as well as partnering with their organisations’ stakeholders to develop a shared understanding of digitisation. The digital business only evolves when people and businesses communicate, transact and negotiate with one another, and CIOs have to adapt to new ways of doing business or risk having their companies lose the competitive edge.
Beyond visionary leadership, doing more with less remains a top priority for CIOs in 2015; the business of IT needs to ﬁnd ways of improving eﬃciencies and lowering the cost of operations. Cutting costs should, however, not lead to forgoing experimentation, research and development, since a lack of innovation leaves companies vulnerable to falling behind competitors. The justiﬁcation for this spend should be easier when the value of IT is no longer crudely deﬁned as the reduction of the cost of IT, but rather by IT productivity which speaks to the resulting boost in a company’s revenue following IT spend.
One area where innovation may lead to further disruption over the next few years will be the transition from passive data collection and reporting to an active search for business insight. Since backward-looking reporting is not the best way to extract useful insights within a rapidly changing digital business world, companies will require predictive analytics, combined with data-led experimentation, to seize every opportunity available to them and plan ahead for future challenges.
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