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The 'CIO of Everything': Orchestrating in an Internet of Things world

The 'CIO of Everything': Orchestrating in an Internet of Things world

As the Internet of Things evolves, CIOs are discovering that it is not an endgame, rather a beginning.

As a CIO, you need to decide today what additional capabilities and resources you will need as you cultivate your enterprise’s IoT efforts... and start acquiring them without delay.

Jenny Beresford, Gartner

At heart, technologists are today’s explorers and inventors, venturing into wild digital frontiers. As the Internet of Things (IoT) evolves, CIOs are discovering that it is not an endgame, rather a beginning. The IoT is a launch pad for infinite new forms of digital business and social connection.

Don’t underestimate the unknown factors that will emerge as the IoT expands and your enterprise’s participation grows. The IoT will expand rapidly and extensively, continually surfacing novel and unforeseen opportunities and threats.

This calls for a new type of CIO that can radically adapt the vision, decision making and capabilities to orchestrate an IoT world – a “CIO of Everything".

Enterprises will approach IoT from different angles — perhaps as consumers of data; passive contributors of data; or as active IoT ecosystem leaders bringing new product and intelligence to market.

Whatever the point of entry for a cultivated enterprise IoT, the ability to act with speed, imagination and confidence are qualities required of the CIO of Everything. They’ll be expected to own, respond to and resolve the waves of new and unanticipated demands, considerations and issues that the IoT will generate on a daily basis.

As a CIO, you need to decide today what additional capabilities and resources you will need as you cultivate your enterprise’s IoT efforts — both in the short and long term — and start acquiring them without delay.

Develop an IoT war room

Operating in an IoT world requires planning for the best outcomes, but also preparing for the worst. Central to this, you will need to create a virtual “IoT war room” to focus attention on the unfolding future. It consists of a team of business and technology minds to brainstorm the situation and create an enterprise IoT strategy and roadmap to guide the CEO, C-level peers and technology teams toward a vision of how the enterprise wants to participate in the IoT world.

The strategy will provide a “constitution", with aspirations and guiding principles. The roadmap must be lightweight, flexible, options based and designed to be as dynamic as IoT itself. It will inevitably change direction frequently and priorities will shift as IoT technologies and products evolve, markets and players come and go, and customers decide how connected they wish to be.

Jenny Beresford of Gartner at the 2017 CIO100 event.
Jenny Beresford of Gartner at the 2017 CIO100 event.

The IoT will expand rapidly and extensively, continually surfacing novel and unforeseen opportunities and threats. This calls for a new type of CIO that can radically adapt the vision, decision-making and capabilities to orchestrate an IoT world – a 'CIO of Everything'.

Map and monitor critical IoT domains

Read more: Time to shift to platform thinking

IoT-generated data will never be finite, stable or complete. So creating and maintaining an accurate map of the enterprise’s critical IoT domains and connected endpoints needs to be done from the outset. A visual dashboard or monitoring system with a real-time view of the continual flow and growth of IoT involvement can help with this.

Build a dedicated IoT team for the enterprise

A dedicated IoT team needs to be skilled in designing, mapping, reading, growing and maintaining your enterprise’s IoT internal domains and external products.

You’ll need a curious, entrepreneurial and strategic-thinking IoT-focused team, who are able to work with abstraction and unprecedented levels of complexity. They’ll be able to anticipate opportunities and threats quickly as industry, market conditions and technologies change.

Brainstorm your enterprise’s needs with forward thinking IT and business leaders, as well as product owners, to develop a profile of the talent, skills and competencies needed to form and develop this new pivotal team.

Jenny Beresford is a research director with Gartner's CIO Advisory team. She has served as a CIO in global enterprises, held VP and GM roles in consulting and technology firms, worked as a hands-on enterprise agile coach, an innovation lead and a digital transformation director.


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