There are many CIOs who would like to play a role in organisational transformation but far fewer who are living that dream. Many business transformation disasters are portrayed as failures of IT so the dream can become a nightmare, in which you have no control.
Often, where CIOs are irrelevant to strategic business decision-making, it is because of the imbalanced focus between information and information technology.
The job title itself should be a fairly large clue as to where the organisation’s expectations lie.
Once you have established yourself as technology manager it will be an uphill struggle to reposition yourself as anything other than a supplier.
There is a big gap between change-master day dreaming and the reality of being on a strategically significant par with catering and office cleaning.
No disrespect to either of those areas, buy it is unlikely that business decisions will be made on the basis of these disciplines. So there is something clearly wrong with being grouped as such.
But you can increase your relevance in respect of strategic focus by looking at transformation from a wider perspective than for example migrating emails services to the Cloud. Though this is part of the jigsaw, as we will see.
There are seismic changes taking place. A subset includes:
Every organisation will have a different market transformation profile. Those organisations who are unaware of theirs will become an inadvertent pellet in the global game of Pacman.
CIOs need to be very sensitive to this as market changes ultimately drive information requirements.
As implied, market transformations will invariably lead to transformative discussions in the c-suite around how to respond. The ensuing SWOT analysis will likely lead to four outcomes:
- Continue as normal
- Grow the business
- Change the business
- Save the business
The sooner you contribute to these discussions the less likely you will become a victim of them. Most CIOs are focused on the first outcome; run the business.
There is much you can do to shape the other three; but only if your role in running the business is considered a positive contribution.
The strategic transformation discussions will likely lead to organisational transformation.
Traditionally in a difficult market there is a trend in terms of endeavouring to move up the value chain, so stop selling products and start selling bundled services.
This is a great idea unless your buyers are similarly economically challenged in which case they will have less money to spend.