Linda Price of Gartner on a critical CIO focus for 2015: Being a powerful digital leader and influencer
How can CIOs help the enterprise understand and get excited about where digitalisation can take the business?
How can CIOs help the enterprise understand and get excited about where digitalisation can take the business?
CIOs need to design and build dream teams – talented and qualified multifunctional experts inside and outside the business – who can supply the necessary skills, knowledge, and expertise. But how do you find them? Linda Price of Gartner shares some pointers.
As enterprises rapidly evolve their mindsets and approach to digital, CIOs will be required to either evolve their own profiles and skill sets or risk becoming irrelevant, writes Linda Price, group vice president, Gartner, executive programs in Asia Pacific.
Linda Price of Gartner writes about the new opportunities and threats businesses must address if they are to survive in the next decade.
Only 16 percent of board directors have any IT experience, according to the National Association of Corporate Directors in the US. This is where the CIO must step in to help.
CIO budgets in Australia and New Zealand are expected to grow an average of 2.6 percent this year. However, 52.3 percent of CIOs report that their budgets are flat, and 27 percent expect them to decline, according to the 2013 Gartner Executive Programmes global survey of 1959 CIOs, which included 112 CIOs from Australia and New Zealand. This marks another round of IT strategies based on doing more with less -- really just doing the same with less.
The role of CIO emerged as the technology function became business-focused and increasingly central to the organisation's goals. While the CIO role varies a little from business to business, the core of the role is relatively clear -- identifying and delivering the IT services needed for the business to succeed.
If IT departments do not reskill their organisations to deliver greater innovation, they risk becoming mere commodity serviceproviders.
There is a significant transformation starting to take place as digitisation continues to change the business landscape. We are seeing the control of an organisation's IT budget slowly slipping away from the CIO, with many vendors now bypassing IT departments and new disruptors presenting alternative solutions.
Several times a year Gartner Executive Programmes conducts an academy for experienced CIOs. This year I had the immense pleasure of attending a Gartner CIO Academy in Oxford. This live-in event was conducted over four days and attracted 30 very experienced IT leaders from 16 different countries. During one very lively conversation between participants, the conversation turned to the reputation of IT within the organisation and how poorly this aspect of the relationship with the organisation is managed.
Globalisation is not a recent phenomenon, and yet it is still affecting the majority of organisations in one way or another. Given their unique pan-enterprise view, CIOs are increasingly being asked to drive globalisation initiatives for enterprises.As I write, I have just returned from three weeks of travel that took me to Gartner offices in India, China and the UK, and the challenges of managing across borders and cultures are again top of mind.Traditional notions of "cultural understanding" being a key competence are passé. Today's successful globalisation initiatives have to go much deeper than that.If you think it doesn't affect you because you work for a local, home grown company, think again.Earlier waves of globalisation were characterised by the one-way movement of production of goods or provision of services to lower-cost countries or regions, thus shifting the centre of gravity of these industries to these lower-cost regions. The current wave of globalisation is increasingly characterised not so much by the decline of the West as by the "rise of the rest".For example, while we are seeing emerging countries provide the fastest growing and, in some cases, even the largest markets for global enterprises, we are also seeing the emergence of global brands like Huawei, ZTE, Haier Group, Infosys and Wipro from the emerging countries, which are competing with developed market brands on their own turf and globally, and consistently winning market share.In this evolution, cultural understanding and the ability to bridge cultures, considered the "holy grail" for success in earlier globalisation initiatives, has become a hygiene factor. It is no longer a differentiator in itself, but a minimum requirement.The CIO is rapidly being thrust into the spotlight in the 'new' globalisation because managing the supply chain, customers, brand perception, regulatory impact, mergers and acquisitions and business processes requires a pan-organisation view, and is also heavily technology-centric. Gartner has identified a list of new competencies required of the CIO. Globalisation is impacting almost every aspect of an enterprise's functioning, from market demand, as companies seek growth from emerging markets, to supply-side challenges, to threats posed by emerging market competitors. IT has a role in all of this. Globalisation will invariably increase the need to establish alliances and partnerships and in many instances the CIO is the logical choice to be asked to suggest alliance partners, given IT's engagement with a broader set of service providers globally. However two of the more interesting aspects of globalisation are access to skills and talent, and increasingly, access to innovation. The war for talent will be the biggest challenge for most enterprises globally for the foreseeable future. This seems like an anomaly, given the high levels of unemployment in various parts of the world. However, even in areas of high unemployment, there is often still a shortage of talent at the high end of the skill ladder. This problem is worse in the technology fields, and getting worse because technology is permeating every segment of the business.CIOs have a strong opportunity to drive "reverse innovation" into the enterprise, by taking innovation coming out of their emerging market presence back into the developed markets.The CIO has to lead the charge in this area. In an interview conducted at a recent Gartner Symposium, the CEO being interviewed mentioned that one of his challenges was to track innovations coming out of the emerging markets that might not be as visible to their business leaders in the developed markets. -He mentioned that this is one of the critical areas that he expects the CIO to track and provide an "early warning signal" to the rest of the business in order to give it a chance to respond to or leverage the innovation.Businesses across industries and regions have to accept that we now live in a globalised world. A key determinant of continued success or even long-term survival will be to create the capability and competencies to respond to globalised market forces. CIOs are the logical business leaders to take charge of these efforts, and this is being recognised by many of the CEOs. In instances where it is not, the CIO should proactively offer to take charge of the company's globalisation efforts. Linda Price is group vice-president, executive programmes, Gartner. Email comments to Linda.firstname.lastname@example.org
Great uncertainty and turbulence will characterise 2012. In response, many CIOs have prepared a solid but fairly conservative plan for the year ahead and their teams are already ‘heads down’ and delivering. It’s a great time now to step outside the day-to-day and think about “what else?” What ideas could you apply to raise your own performance and that of your team to a distinctively higher level?
This year, CIOs must strike and continually adjust a careful balance between short-term, high-impact initiatives and long-term strategies, while nurturing and sustaining their people and organisational resources.
lthough it is generally accepted that our region dodged a bullet in 2008 and 2009, enterprises here nevertheless battened down the hatches and braced themselves for difficult economic outcomes. Now, once again, global markets are reeling and there is uncertainty about the extent to which this disruption, and China’s potential economic slowdown, will impact the performance of local firms.
According to recent Gartner Executive Programmes research led by Patrick Meehan, a potential crisis is too valuable an opportunity to waste. Effective CIOs help their organisations respond by focusing on leadership and business engagement. Highly collaborative and effective CIOs can help turn a crisis into an opportunity and position the enterprise itself better for the next crisis.
It is difficult to conceive of a CIO who, in his or her career, has not encountered some level of executive lack of interest in IT. Last month I talked about this as the first of our three typical causes of IT leadership deadlocks. In particular, I looked at IT-related communications as not pushing executive “hot buttons” and not connecting with business issues. The use of story telling, visual communications, facilitated play and simulation were explored as possible remedies for this situation.
Executive indifference to IT is most damaging when coupled with poor governance and lack of ownership and accountability for IT-intensive business projects. These are the two other IT leadership deadlocks. No doubt you will have encountered situations where all three of these circumstances exist, and all too often each is a by-product of the other. Let’s now look at a technique you can use to break the second IT leadership deadlock—lack of effective governance.
Many CIOs continually face the same persistent IT leadership challenge — executive disinterest in IT combined with ineffectual IT governance, resulting in weak ownership and accountability for IT initiatives outside of IT. When faced with this paralysing combination of tightly-coupled events, it is easy for a CIO to unwittingly become part of the problem. It occurs when the CIO ignores the obvious opportunity to take control and break out of this leadership deadlock. It’s typically a situation where everyone is aware that there is an issue, but there has been little progress in resolving it for an extended period. Therefore I use the word deadlock. Conventional management practices are not generally effective in situations like this, as the issues are more about the way the rest of the business and the IT organisation feel about and experience each other.
Although the three elements of this situation — executive disinterest, ineffectual IT governance and lack of accountability — all combine to create this toxic situation, if we break them apart we can work on a response for each and break through the deadlock. This month I’ll focus on approaches to remedy executive disinterest.