CIO Leadership is a must for IT

By: Babette Ten Haken - Leave a comment

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The importance of IoT CIO leadership was highlighted in numerous business and use case presentations at IoT Emerge in Chicago last week. IoT CIO leaders are chief champions and key catalysts of IT (Information Technology) and OT (Operational Technology) convergence.

The CIO leadership goal is to create shared and accessible IoT data and dashboards. These dashboards, in turn, achieve integration of people, software, processes and machines within complex manufacturing environments. Moreover, these data-driven insights can be walked through the enterprise to customer-facing business units and sales teams for value delivery.

To make the IoT work in the enterprise, IT takes the disruptive lead.

Tomorrow’s IoT CIO leaders do not dwell in corporate silos. IT/OT convergence is not “normal” project management and specification as usual. Rather, IoT deployment will be disruptive. The case for IT/OT convergence involves nothing less than organizational change management.

Consider the professional DNA of your CIO today. Was that individual hired with the industrial Internet of Things on your radar screen? Is that individual capable of evolving to meet the demands of CIO leadership for IT/OT convergence?

In the IoT ecosystem, the CIO no longer is a technology person, according to Chris Lebeau, Global IT Director, Advanced Technology Services, Inc. Instead, they become a holistic business person. CIO leadership focuses on building the case for the business need.  Then they learn about what everyone does within the organization to better define that need and create IoT deployment specifications.

CIO leadership for IT/OT convergence is translational instead of transactional.  

In many organizations with legacy mindset and business models, IT represents a passive line item. IT folks are order-takers. They have a transactional role, serving other departments’ needs.

In order-taker cultures, fear of the unknown and what’s next potentially are the two biggest impediments preventing CIO leadership from moving forward. Then there is fear of how their own job will be impacted as a result of IoT project execution. Also factor in that every other employee impacted by IT/OT convergence is facing these same fears.

IT/OT convergence calls for CIO leadership to take on a translational role for the enterprise. The goal is to create an ecosystem where data and analytics yield actionable business and operational insights.  Then the CIO drives those insights throughout the enterprise.

As a result, CIO leadership becomes translational and transformational. The CIO is a change agent creating opportunities for data-driven, actionable insights to impact the enterprise.

To get started, CIO leadership focuses on creating business value from IT/OT convergence.

At IoT Emerge, business and use cases urged companies to focus on what is already familiar, then incorporate operational technology and data. Robert Bierwagen, VP and CIO of MPI Corporation demonstrated how IT/OT convergence starts with something as simple as a digital handshake, literally.

Digitizing operational insights about equipment health and proactive and predictive maintenance can start by the simple act of providing factory floor workers a digital torque wrench. The look, feel and repetitive motion involved are familiar with the non-digital version of that tool. Familiarity breaks down barriers to acceptance. Then IT personnel demonstrate how the digital version of the tool creates data sets and actionable insights. OT champions of IT are created.

Steven Meyer, Senior Principal Engineer of Intel Corp. lead the IT/OT convergence by breaking down silos and creating organizational interoperability. An engineer, he and his team morphed into IT professionals and became invested in the total ROI of business outcomes. In creating their end-to-end solution, IT invested in and became the host of a common scalable IoT platform for open connectivity, better security and economies of scale and support flexibility.

Intel knew they had an internal opportunity with ROI. IT/OT convergence eliminated manual checks and handling of machines. Similar to the business case at MPI Corporation, at Intel the focus was on digitizing input and data collection. As a result, external preventive maintenance windows were extended. They estimate the total improvements created will yield $5.4B USD worth of ROI.

IoT CIO Leadership is holistic.

CIO leadership is the hallmark of deploying an Internet of Things (IoT) strategy. What role does the CIO play in your organization today?

IT/OT convergence meshes plant floor, real-time systems running proprietary software with insights gleaned from big data and predictive analytics. More importantly, IT/OT convergence meshes two professional processes and cultures which, in the past, operated in traditionally separate corporate silos and mixed together like oil and water.

IT/OT convergence can be daunting. That scenario represents a huge leap of faith for legacy mindset, processes and systems.

In all cases presented at IoT Emerge, CIO leadership moved forward because of C-Suite support, especially from the CEO. The relentless pace of technology advances in the industrial Internet of Things does not permit complacency.

Is your CIO ready to lead the enterprise forward?

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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... Read More