CIO Thinking - New to Next

By Ashok Jade, CIO, Shalimar Paints

As we see, senior Non-IT executives are being more conversant with technologies, leadership and technology investments are going out of control of CIO. So, it is urgent need for CIO to change nature of role they play.

Technologies like Cloud are helping business leader not to involve CIO and IT heads and take decision which best fit for their function which is obvious nature.

Same is the case of Internet of Things-- Manufacturing leadership is not feeling need of IT to automate their plants and many more such examples can be given. Adding to this, New leadership role like CMO, CDO etc are taking away IT investments and decision power… their budgets are growing but CIO and IT heads are fighting for budgets… this what reality one can see in many organisations.

Risk and reality of Shadow IT is increasing day by day this may be the problem for IT Leadership, but this is need of business which is fuelled by Keep up mind-set of IT and Technology Leadership.

How to cope up with this situation of urgent need for every CIO? Let’s discuss below pointers.

Start Early – Fail Early – Restart Early: Adopting this Mantra in daily life is very important for CIO. What does it mean? It says, CIO to start his actions much before respective function start initiative for their own department. Be proactive. Don’t be wary of rejection of 9 ideas out of 10… because one successful idea is more important for business.

Understand and deep dive in business functions and understand their pain points, propose solution which will solve their problem and don’t just execute IT Solution but resolve biz problem.

Avoid big bang approach although it looks to be attractive. This methodology has a high risk of fading in shorter time we are in start-up era. Take smaller step --> be successful and then go bigger. Even if you fail, don’t hesitate to accept what you learnt out of failure and how soon you restart matters more than failure.

In Short, metabolism of Traditional IT process is too slow which must go away to meet highly demanding, incredibly fast paced organisation need.

Learn - ReLearn - DeLearn: This is second important mantra. CIO can’t survive just by networking with tech vendors and tech peer group. Learn quickly what your competitors are doing and what is happening in similar industry. This learning is very important to decide how you can be ahead of competitors and which solution can give competitive advantages to you.

Relearning is process wherein you evaluate known technologies and methodologies in current context; fine-tune your skills in current business scenario and context.

DeLearning in many cases is very important. Not only for CIO but for entire IT team. De-learning is process through which you must forget few technologies, solution and methodologies even if they have greater success in past but not relevant in today’s context.

Take an example, Still many CIO feels application development should be done which fits for all and can be used for many years. Gone are those days. Quick and right delivery of solution is more important even if such solution may need to scrap in couple of months /years.

Another example, CIO must go away from traditional top-down, do-it-all-yourself model which is project based mentality and should adopt an ecosystem based practices. Deliver things which are digital-native, emergence-seeking and customer oriented.

Don’t find Issue – Create Idea: Issue finding and solution delivery is a legacy approach. Today’s businesses expect ideas from CIO. Issues fixing may not give greater success but idea creation may lead to new business model. Fixing issues is obvious job of CIO, idea creation is expected from New Age CIO.

Everyone is expecting CIO to bring disruption using technology in their own businesses. CIO must understand, “True disruption comes from redefining business models, not business processes”

Start-up Mind-set: Start-up has no legacy which is main advantage for them. This is one of the reasons they are innovative and they think very differently which other can’t.

Another important quality of start-up is, they are small enough to fail and if they fail, no big loss. They restart.

Third quality of start-up is – they are very flexible – agile. CIO to adopt all these qualities to become successfully Techno- Business Leader.

No Big-Bang Approach – Deliver solution small and quickly. Learn the success and then move ahead on next strategy.

Don’t wait 6 to 8 months for large scale system… Deliver things quickly. Today’s need will be outdated after 6 months and by that time, your competitors may have stolen your idea.

Under the caption of Long- Term IT strategy – CIO makes 5 Years Strategy… Excuse me to blunt enough to say – today’s 5 yrs strategy may not be of any use as in reality things must have changed drastically in 5 Yrs and you need to redraft your Strategy.

In short, CIO to step-up to exist and succeed in today’s market. CIO must think like their Sales Executives, CFO, CPO so on and shed out its reputation from Cost Center to Technology Entrepreneurship. Be a Techno-Business Leader.

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