What The Future Holds For IT Departments And CIOs
Customers are expecting fully digital customer experience that must be delivered seamlessly across many devices.
When writing about disruption, it’s easy to get caught up with thinking about nimble young startups like Uber, Kickstarter or AirBnb. However, most of us won’t be working for them; we will be working in companies that are being disrupted – maybe even by these very companies – and that’s when we will scramble to create new products or service to boost our competitive advantage and get closer to customers.
This is why, the word on so many CEOs and CIOs mind right now is “agility”.
The truth is that change is happening faster than ever and customers are looking for much more than just great service. They expect fully digital customer experience that must be delivered seamlessly across many devices. And competition is not resting either, they are launching new digital initiatives, which makes shorter time-to-market more important than ever.
An example of a trend that will shape the future of companies and that many companies are simply not ready for yet, is the Internet of Things (IoT). Forrester Research has recently shown results that show many companies (17 percent) are planning to invest in this area in the next 12 months. In 2015, 49 percent of BDMs reported that the expansion of IoT initiatives was an important organizational priority over the coming year.
Implementation of such initiatives requires the agility that is simply not there for many companies. IT departments were built in a different time with different requirements. While stability and consistency remain important, they are being supplanted by agility and the need to respond quickly to new business initiatives.
The first task for IT departments and CIOs is to look at how they can support digital transformation in their companies. An important answer is the cloud. Cloud solutions like Microsoft Azure make it easy to change your service ’on-the-fly’ while delivering the reliability that your customers require. People no longer tolerate temporarily unavailable services or messages that apologize for the inconvenience.
Remember, the competition is never more than a click away. This means that the focus has to be on developing distributed and separate applications and subsystems rather than monolithic systems that serve everyone and no one at the same time.
However, the quest for agility is not all about technology. The CIO’s role is changing. In the past, they are often relegated to the role of an IT manager. However, as companies are increasingly transforming into digital entities, they are also becoming more and more involved with the business side. This reality is reflected in the professional profiles of CIOs. Recent research by company Hays Information Technology has shown that fewer than a third of CIOs surveyed had a degree in information technology or computer science, 20 per cent had a business, commerce or finance degree, and a quarter went on to get a masters in business administration.
Technical skills and knowledge are still the foundation, but soft skills are becoming more and more important, including people management and commercial acumen. After all, it’s hard to build a digital company, if you know nothing about the business side of things.
This is what IT departments and CIOs are facing right now. Large and almost overwhelming trends such as IoT that cannot be addressed with infrastructures and skills of yesterday. We need to stop looking away from technology as an end in itself and look at the business requirements that need to be supported by the right technology mix that is delivered by people with the right skills. This is what the future holds for IT departments and CIOs.
Find out more on the future of Business at our DLUK - Trends Briefing on the 24th September 2015