The Digital CIO Staying Relevant in the Age of the Chief Digital Officer The Digital CIO Staying Relevant in the Age of the Chief Digital Officer

The Digital CIO: Staying Relevant in the Age of the Chief Digital Officer


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Let’s start with a bit of a controversial statement: Increasingly, CIOs are becoming technology caretakers.

The advent of “The 4th Industrial Revolution” – all things connected to all things all the time – is pushing organizations into a state of panic and volatility. This constant state of perpetual digital conversation between machines, AI, and humans is completely disrupting standard economic models. Everything-as-a-Service (EaaS) and crowdsourcing business models are on the rise as traditional business models begin to fail and more and more companies start to evaluate their market approach. This organizational shift is commonly referred to as Digital Transformation and includes topics such as Big Data, Cloud Enablement, Bots, and Artificial Intelligence. Digital Transformation also introduces a new role, the Chief Digital Officer (CDO), which is quickly changing the paradigm for technology and for the traditional CIO.

The value of technology is now a topic of discussion at all levels of every organization. Companies that are effectively leveraging new, agile technologies at a business level are thriving while others that have yet to shift gears are quickly falling behind. In effect, the information aspect of the Chief Information Officer role has never been more relevant. The intersection of business and technology is all about information sharing and enablement. Using information and technology to empower employees, engage customers, optimize operations, and transform products and services is at the core of Digital Transformation. This is an exciting time for the CIO who has longed for the ability to drive meaningful business value throughout the organization!

Unfortunately, the typical CIO’s background does not lend itself seamlessly to the unique challenges of Digital Transformation. The CIO of the past has been tasked with keeping technology costs down while keeping application value high. The focus has been on networks, servers, software applications, and other infrastructure items with the occasional foray into custom software development. As a result, IT departments have long been perceived as cost centers that are required for the business to operate but that don’t add any tangible ROI. Concepts like cloud, big data, machine learning, and IoT are foreign and, as a result, many CIOs are being overlooked as digital leaders. Certainly, there are great examples where a CIO and CDO co-exist but, more often, there is innate friction. CIOs are increasingly finding themselves still caring for networks, telecom, and diminishing data centers while the CDOs are engaging with the business and bringing in exciting disruptive technologies. In some cases, the CIO is even being deprecated completely in favor of a Director of Infrastructure and Technology role reporting to the CDO.

Transforming the Role of the Traditional CIO

Should CIOs be taking this opportunity to jump ahead of the discussion and be a catalyst for technology disruption and organizational transformation? Absolutely! However, for many, the knowledge gap is daunting. Many Chief Digital Officers come from the “School of Silicon Valley” and are already confidently surfing the tidal wave of technology change while the “Traditional CIO” is standing on the shore gazing in terror at the impending tsunami.

But who says you have to be a traditional CIO? What’s stopping you from digitally transforming the role of CIO in your company and industry?

Hitachi Solutions is here to help empower the Digital CIO with the knowledge that he or she needs to catch the next wave. Our Digital Transformation team will work with you to understand the shifting landscape of your business domain and to articulate a pragmatic, iterative, and (most importantly) technology roadmap that is aligned with your business goals.

Let’s get rid of the traditional CIO and reinvent the Digital CIO together! Contact us today.