CIO Partnership Catalyzes IIoT Human Capital Strategy


By Babette Ten Haken, on

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The goal of CIO partnership for digital transformation focuses on leveraging how big data brings people together.  Prior to this digital transformation agenda, the ability to understand and utilize data divided employees and marginalized individuals from fully developing their talents.

Digital transformation of the enterprise calls for a hybridized, interoperable IT-OT workforce. After all, as data becomes the common denominator for the enterprise, who better than the CIO to be a partner, if not leader, of this initiative?

A robust IIoT human capital strategy focuses everyone on understanding how their piece of the data puzzle connects to the overall value stream of the enterprise. To answer these questions, employees learn to work across departmental silos and develop a network of resources for robust IIoT problem-solving.

This strategy also catalyzes people working together cross-functionally. Developing multi-disciplinary, team-based decision-making follows suit.

Let the data catalyze rather than divide.

There are challenges inherent in any organization’s digital transformation strategy.

Getting from where your organization is, today, to where you need to go tomorrow, is quite a journey. Issues include:

  • Cost of deployment and transitioning existing brownfield software and hardware environments.
  • Transitioning business and operations models for the demands of the IIoT, which does not allow organizations either the luxury of time or the comfort of continuing to work in departmental professional silos.
  • Creating human capital strategy focused on hiring / retraining the current workforce to transition into a fully IIoT-enabled environment.

Therefore, developing a CIO partnership creates a more robust outcome for execution of the IIoT transformation roadmap.

Cultural buy-in is a critical aspect for IIoT human capital strategy.

CIO partnership and leadership across the enterprise becomes key to enabling cultural buy-in during the digital transformation process.

When creating the strategic roadmap for digital transformation, the transformation team, itself, must be cross-functional. In a sense, the transition team leads and serves as the beta team for the enterprise through:

  • Leading by example.
  • Discovering gaps proactively in process, competencies, mindset; and
  • Translating the vocabulary of each specific professional discipline.
  • Retraining today’s employees and creating enlightened hiring criteria for tomorrow.

Ultimately, the organization learns to become more trusting of each other and knowledgeable about (rather than intimidated by) big data and predictive analytics. In addition, the workforce evolves from a siloed culture into a flattened structure.

More teams learn to collaborate cross-functionally. These teams become comfortable and conversant across multiple professional vocabularies.

Executing digital transformation strategy creates a culture of people, software and equipment continuously accessing, analyzing and utilizing data-driven insights for decision-making.

Realistically, the majority of organizations will not have the luxury of starting anew with fresh, IIoT-savvy assets. Therefore, an organization’s digital transformation initiative initially focuses on recalibrating and redeploying current human assets. In addition, the organization concurrently invests in new ones identified by the IIoT human capital strategy roadmap.

Clearly, digital transformation calls for transformation in workforce skills. The CIO partnership within the digital transformation team targets creating extraordinary end user experiences for current employees. New hires must be welcomed into the existing mix rather than being regarded as outsiders to yesterday’s culture.

Has your organization developed an IIoT human capital strategy? Is the CIO part of this transformation strategy? How might you recalibrate your mindset for a more successful digital transformation outcome?

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About The Author

Babette Ten Haken

Founder & President, Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC

Babette N. Ten Haken is a strategist, analyst, author and blogger. Her focus: the interrelationship between teams, leadership and culture in technology and manufacturing. Her Workshops target excellence in the execution of strategy. Babette began her career in clinical research where she was asked to bring clarity to stalemated cross-functional conversations. Her Playbook of collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on She also writes for IBM PivotPoint, Penton MSPMentor and other brands in the technology sector.

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