The BCS annual CIO survey has shown that 69 per cent of CIOs have been tasked with prioritising business transformation and organisational change in 2013. This is no surprise as its known that effective use of IT is now a major driving force behind business performance.

However, 61 per cent of CIOs have said they don’t have sufficient resources to achieve this and 47 per cent said they would need enhanced IT skills among the existing workforce. This is very concerning not only for the CIOs involved but also for the UK economy as a whole.

It’s clear that the economy needs to generate growth and to do this we need to do something different or there is a real risk that the UK could end up becoming a third word economy if we don’t.

The IT profession has a huge role to play in our future and helping the UK to grow our way out of the current economic situation. This could be one of the most transformative moments in our time, but will we, can we, grasp the opportunity?

Today we are at a unique juncture; we are in the fifth wave of computing, one that offers tremendous possibilities. The incredible technological capability which we have now is dramatically changing the way that businesses are thinking about what they can do and how they can do it.

Organisations that embrace this and get this right will emerge the winners and will help to generate a more successful and competitive UK economy.

This current wave of computing puts the focus on mobile and cloud computing, providing us with more connectivity, more opportunity for content, greater communication and process to bring this altogether. Clouds are the web based revolution continued to the next level. However, it is more than just the cloud, there are four major technologies enabling business change: big data, mobility, social tools and cloud, and four distinct and different enterprise environments, producing a digitally transformed enterprise.  All of which give us a business capability revolution and an IT delivery evolution.

Whilst business revolution is where the new focus quite rightly lies, new and different technologies enable everything to happen. However they only enable it to happen, people make it happen. As many businesses already know, today is about listening to and responding to customers. Social media has revolutionised the way we interact with our customers. Many businesses are adapting to this critical driver, building their business in response to them, rather than looking at the business from the inside and deciding what would be best for our customers.

This new business model innovation requires new practices across the enterprise and they’re people centric, not process or industrial.

So what does this mean for the IT profession which is enabling this change? As a profession and especially as CIOs we have a lot to understand in order to deliver. This is all happening at a time when traditional IT departments are being asked to do more with less, which in itself will drive innovation and the adoption of new ways of working, but it also needs new skills from the profession.

The application of new technology to new business approaches is one, if not the critical skill. It will determine whether companies succeed or fail. However, this can only come from those people who know the technology; it simply doesn’t work the other way round. Therefore we need to invest in the right people, the right skills, and put these new skills in place. We need to develop the hybrid IT professional; someone who has the technology know-how, can combine it with business understanding, and very importantly, has people skills.

If we get this right, business and technology change can lead to world class, world beating businesses.

David Clarke - Change is inevitable, but CIOs should not demand too big a leap from regular users