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Digital Transformation, IT, IT Leadership, Leadership

Are you a #Digital #CIO (#CDO), a #ChangeAgent or a Dinosaur?

Are the traditional types of CIO still valid or are we now into the World of Transformational CIOs and CDOs? Is the World changing so quickly that anyone else is a Dinosaur?

Historical types of CIO

Six years ago I asked the question “What type of CIO are you?”

Are you a transformational CIO, a strategist, a tactical one, an innovator, a techy, a firefighter, a jack of all trades or do you stick your head in the sand?

                                                   — Martin Davis

The traditional CIO was expected to manage infrastructure, keep the lights on, manage legacy technology, deliver new projects and manage to their allotted budget. While these CIO types are still valid and have their place, a lot has changed in recent years.

A new World of Digital and Constant Change

Back in 2016, CapGemini asked whether we need two types of CIO, the legacy, keep the lights on type and the newer Digital CIO or CDO. More recently, CIO magazine suggests a split of Traditional vs Transformational.

The CIO is now expected to drive change, to be the catalyst for improvement, to lead the business in a digital transformation. In short to be a business leader and use technology to grow the business.

It is clear that the role and the need has changed considerably:

At the recent #CIOChatLive conference (held at Boston College), I was fortunate enough to debate this topic with a very distinguished group of CIOs including Tim Crawford, Wayne Sadin, Isaac Sacolick, Ben Haines, and Jay Ferro, plus expertise from Stephanie Woerner, Research Scientist at MIT-CISR, and Korn Ferry digital transformation expert Melissa Swift. (Apologies, too many great CIOs to list everyone who attended).

The winning formula for CIOs right now has four parts, Woerner says.

  • Works with the C-suite/executive committee to create a vision for what digital transformation will create
  • Builds digital discipline across the enterprise – not just in IT
  • Relentlessly delivers on operational efficiencies
  • Focuses on customer engagement

All of this requires the CIO to drive change. As many of you know from my previous articles I have been blogging on Change Management and IT Leadership for a number of years, and have frequently said that the CIO job is more about change than it is about technology!

In his article Shawn Banerji argues that the CIO now has a new job description: Change Agent.

As Shawn comments:

“Suddenly the CIO as an agent of change is the new expectation.”

                                  — Shawn Banerji

Through a closer focus on the customer, the end to end integration of the business to support the customer journey, plus the engineering of new digital products and services, the CIO has the opportunity to demonstrate that they can help grow the business and deserve a seat at the top table.


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