Can the CIO Role Survive and Become Translational for the IoT Enterprise?

By: Babette Ten Haken| - Leave a comment

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The CIO role is morphing courtesy of the globally competitive Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem.

Driven by the demand for data-driven and insight-driven decision-making, CIOs are taking their seats at the strategy table. CIOs also are re-architecting their own departments to better execute strategy on a day-to-day basis.

This trend is good news for both mid-market and enterprise level organizations.

Gartner Research indicates that today’s CIO understands that they need to make a pivot in mindset, especially when it comes to their leadership style. Rather than remaining the keeper of the status quo, the role and relevance of CIO is being reinvented by digital transformation within the IoT.

“To grasp the digital opportunity, incrementally improving IT performance isn’t enough,” said Dave Aron, vice president and Gartner Fellow. Digitalization is no longer a sideshow — it has moved to center stage and is changing the whole game. CIOs now have a unique opportunity, but they must ‘flip’ their information, technology, value and people leadership practices to deliver on the digital promise.”

In enlightened organizations, the CIO role catalyzes digital transformation. An IT paradigm shift is going on. Your organization can choose to remain a spectator or to engage as an active participant.

Does your CIO role have the pedigree and DNA for this paradigm shift?

IDG research identifies four critical-to-business-outcome traits for tomorrow’s CIO. What is important is that today’s CIO role may not have hired individuals with these attributes in mind. Rather than adopting an out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new strategy – disruptive and disheartening to employees – figure out whether the CIO can cross the digital transformation gap.

  1. Is your CIO a leader? Do they have the translational bandwidth to collaborate and create strategy which impacts the entire organization and not just the IT department? Can they comfortably move between strategy and execution? Most importantly, can they clearly articulate strategy and tactics across divisions and professional disciplines?
  2. Can your CIO continuously assess costs and identify ROI opportunities which may arise independently of fiscal calendars and annual reports? Negotiating the blindingly relentless pace of technology change and taking advantage of industry trends calls for a different set of decision making skills than the traditional CIO has. Can your CIO take a hybridized and, therefore, transformational role within your organization?
  3. Will your CIO be willing to champion digital transformation for your enterprise? Clearly, translational and transformational roles involve the ability to skillfully communicate across business, operations and IT functions. Can your CIO continuously move back and forth across engineering and business mindset?
  4. Is your CIO willing to catalyze innovation? In the IoT ecosystem, the role of IT is hybridized. On the one hand IT provides a set of stabilized platforms, processes and people to run the organization in a predictable and reliable manner. On the other hand, can the CIO showcase how predictability and reliability allow data scientists and DevOps folks to collaborate with each other and with line of business units to create environments for innovation, development, improvement and opportunity?

The demands of digital and cultural transformation call for corporate innovation.

The IoT CIO role is one of digital transformation evangelist. Does this description make the C-Suite team squirm with discomfort or embrace the challenge?

“The transitional, translational CIO is a skilled negotiator, risk taker and communicator. They bridge the gap separating operations and business units, shop floor and C-suite. They demystify control processes and systems perceived to prevent business from happening. In turn, they impact hiring processes in customer-facing business units as well as in operational units.” – Babette Ten Haken

Clearly as the enterprise moves into the various stages of digital transformation, human capital strategy will be transformed as well. The type of individuals hired by the CIO will be impacted by the new CIO role as translator of the IoT for the enterprise.

The IoT has created a culture of connectivity within, throughout and external to the enterprise. Value creation, for the enterprise and your clients’ organizations, will become more competitive based on the types of individuals either retained or hired to become the CIO.

Where does your own organization stand regarding the CIO role? How are you planning on leveraging the CIO to catalyze digital transformation?

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About The Author

Babette Ten Haken

Founder & President, Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC

Babette Ten Haken is a catalyst, corporate strategist and facilitator. She writes, speaks, consults and coaches about how cross-functional team collaboration revolutionizes the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) value chain for customer loyalty, customer success and customer retention. Her One Millimeter Mindset™ programs draw from her background as a scientist, sales professional, enterprise-level facilitator, Six Sigma Green Belt and certified DFSS Voice of the Customer practitioner. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Visit the Free Resources section of her website for more tools.

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