Using IT as a Competitive Weapon

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

Forces Shaping the CIO Agenda in 2011

CIOs need to get the balance right between utility and innovation in order to secure influence in the future.

Too often, IT organizations struggle with how to manage existing IT technologies to appreciate new emerging technologies that are about to transform not only how IT is managed, but is actually valued by the business.

With the advent of Big Data, coupled with advanced analytics, the rise of mobile computing and the movement to cloud computing, IT organizations are on the cusp of being transformed from simple curators of technology to stewards of the business value those technologies unleashed.

According to Harvey Koeppel, executive director at the Center for CIO Leadership , as the leaders of their IT organizations, CIOs need to make a mental leap that puts a lot more emphasis on their role as leaders of business transformation than it does on their roles as managers of IT infrastructure. In fact, Koeppel says many CIOs need to get out of their infrastructure comfort zones in order to have more time to embrace business issues. In many instances, that will mean relying more on lieutenants to manage the actual technology required to drive business innovation. The end game, says Koeppel, is to have the "I" in CIO not stand for either information or infrastructure, but rather intelligence.

Koeppel says the end game of all this technology innovation is to increase customer intimacy. That means building analytics applications - most of which will run on a cloud computing platform - that allow the business to reach out to customers through their mobile computing devices in real time. As such, these three technology trends, says Koeppel, will become major drivers in transforming how the business thinks of IT.

That, in turn, will lead to a major shift in the attributes that business executives look for in IT leaders, adds Koeppel. Beyond mere technical competency, business leaders will be looking for IT leaders that can leverage IT to create a sustainable competitive business edge, notes Koeppel. For that reason alone, Koeppel says the IT leaders of tomorrow are going to be thinking a lot more about how to derive business value from technology for the business rather than how the actual technology itself necessarily works.

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