The CIO’s trusted lieutenant

The CIO’s trusted lieutenant

A 'COO of IT' can give CIOs an additional one day a month to develop and lead the organisation’s digital vision, reports Gartner.

2015 CIO Survey shows digitalisation has moved to centre stage, and is changing the way business is done.

Businesses and public sector organsations and their CIOs must ‘flip’ leadership practices to deliver on the digital promise, says the analyst firm.

“Digital requires a more visionary style of leadership,” explains Ed Gabrys, Gartner research director. “You need to redefine your role. Spend much less time on hands on wrenches, spend more time with executives selling the digital vision.”

Read more: CIO100 2015: Who are the biggest ICT users in New Zealand?

Gabrys points out Gartner research shows leading CIOs spend one day per month more with the top enterprise team and customers.

One way the CIO can find this time is to assign a COO of IT, or a ‘trusted lieutenant’, he states.

The CIO will then be “chief orchestrator, leading the charge”, and the COO of IT “can take the engineering mindset”.

Read more: Do you need another CEO?

You need to redefine your role. Spend much less time on hands on wrenches, spend more time with executives selling the digital vision.

Ed Gabrys, Gartner

Gabrys notes if the organisation cannot justify the need for a COO of IT, “the CIO can allocate day to day operational responsibility to a member of the team".

“A COO of IT gives you back one day per month,” he states. This extra 5 per cent of time can be spent in engaging with the board, senior leadership and external customers.

The Gartner 2015 CIO Agenda: An Australia and New Zealand Perspective report, meanwhile, lists more recommendations for CIOs in both public and private sectors leading through the transition to digital.

Read more: The top 10 technologies forcing education leaders to rethink their business models

CIOs should consider putting risk management as a key improvement area in their performance plan for themselves and for their teams for 2015. The measure of success is how well the team responds to risk (that is, resilience), not how well the team prevents things from happening, according to the report by analysts Andy Rowsell-Jones, Rob Heselev, Marcus Darbyshire and David Spaziani.

CIOs can also share news articles of industry “digital disruption” with executives, and outline the potential business risks or revenue opportunities.

“CIOs should become the digital go-to person for their enterprises by becoming experts in digital’s likely impacts,” the authors state.

The authors advise reconsidering the title, brand image and structure of the ICT department.

Read more: Apply data science with care: Gartner

Some ANZ CIOs have already done this, and have renamed their divisions to contemporary and aspirational titles such as ‘frontline digital services’ and ‘technology and digital innovation’, they state.

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Follow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap

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Read more: CIO100 2015 reveals biggest ICT user in New Zealand

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