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CIO? The ‘I’ stands for innovation…

CIO? The ‘I’ stands for innovation…

The role of the CIO is constantly evolving.

Businesses have realised the opportunity for technology to completely transform their operations – both internally, and on the customer side.

As organisations look to match the increasing demands of a digital savvy audience, the potential grows for larger budgets and an expansive remit for the CIO to work with. Digital disruption is ripe, and it has put IT firmly on the agenda – a sentiment echoed by Virgin Active CIO Andy Caddy.

According to Gartner, CIOs estimate that 79% of IT spending will be ‘inside’ the IT budget (up slightly from last year), but that more digital innovation can and will be funded outside the planned IT spending. This highlights, yet again, that technology is touching more parts of organisations than ever before.

It means that as well as owning the day-to-day there is a need for the CIO to act as champion for fostering culture and new ways of working.

Last year’s IDC ‘Worldwide CIO Agenda’ report points towards the need for a new set of skills and roles to rise to this challenge.

One of the more pertinent points of the report talks about making the ‘I’ in CIO stand for ‘Innovation’.

It’s clear that there’s a massive opportunity here for the CIO to completely reshape their organisation through adopting a Hybrid IT philosophy.

By talking the right language in the boardroom, CIOs can help guide an organisation on which areas that should digitise, when, and by how much.

The beauty of course with the Hybrid model is that it doesn’t have to be an ‘all or nothing’ approach. Certain elements of the organization can be digitised at different degrees at a time best suited to you – allowing you to best respond to the business need.

But is there a risk if the CIO doesn’t get on the front foot? The erosion of influence is one, with the even greater (and almost unimaginable) horror of the role becoming irrelevant altogether.

Is that a bit extreme? Not really. With technology becoming increasingly ingrained in all parts of operations, more board members have the potential to take on elements of technology under their remit. And we’re already seeing this with numerous reports suggesting the growing influence of the CMO, CTO and CDO when it comes to tech in the business.

It’s hard to imagine the modern day business where technology does not influence and impact the habits of customers.

If the CIO isn’t in a position where they are driving this change from within the organisation they could be frozen out altogether.

Fortunately, Hybrid IT provides an approach which encourages greater flexibility, helping an organisation work smarter and more efficiently. This enables innovation to happen take root much more easily, allowing the CIO to wield much greater influence in the boardroom.

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