IT is no longer just a support system
“My internet is too slow”
“Help! My printer is jammed”
“How do I install this new software?”
The IT department was once considered no more than a help desk, equipped with support staff that expertly diagnosed and resolved technical requests over harrowing phones calls that came their way every day.
This narrative was popular just a decade ago. Today, however, IT professionals maneuver a shrewd landscape that is evolving every few weeks, both with rapid technology updates and introduction of brand new technology.
The onset of the digital age and a world that has become increasingly interconnected through the internet, however, has transformed the very core of IT. Strategic business decisions that once only included the sales, marketing and operations department, now hold IT as a center focus. Business growth is so closely to staying on top of the digital transformation that it is imperative for executive decisions to be extremely tech-based.
IT applications permeates every department of an organization.
- IT combined with big data drives better business decisions: Making sense of large amounts of data gathered throughout the year and extracting meaningful analysis from it is crucial to making impactful business decisions. Interestingly, Xerox used talent analytics to reduce attrition rates in their call centers by a staggering 20%. Increasingly, HR departments are starting to use big data and analytics to cut costs and be better equipped to handle workforce related issues.
- IT enables connectivity: Engaging with the customer on an ongoing basis is just as important as connecting your employees one to another. Where fast and intelligent decision making is required, instant connectivity among all stakeholders is key. Tools such as Slack, Magentrix and Webex are enabling communication across various departments and geographies.
- IT empowers sales & marketing teams: With the increasing popularity of permission-based marketing, marketing departments have been shifting their focus to digital, both in terms of content creation and promotion. Whether it be engaging prospects on social media or building relationships with prospects using a marketing automation system or gathering intelligent data about their business needs using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management), technology is a foundational asset. A great use case for this is Salesforce Marketing Cloud, that is enabling even small teams to run effective marketing campaigns across the US.
- Operations and IT working together results in better productivity: When operations strategically implements IT into their processes, the result is fewer issues with the workflow and more automation, which directly leads to reduced costs. ERP Solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, SAP, Sage and others are simplifying business operations to a surprising degree.
Organizations have to start seeing the importance of IT beyond support, and integrate it into all key business outcomes. A strategic blend of cutting-edge IT and an agile work environment becomes especially relevant in a time where technology is the cornerstone of gaining competitive edge.
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CIO is now responsible for keeping your business ahead of the curve
Let’s cut to the chase here. A business is successful only when it is generating revenue and cutting costs simultaneously.
Traditionally, CIOs were responsible for increasing operational efficiencies and ensuring that the IT department is able to deliver steady performance.
However, that narrative has undergone a tremendous change. The CIO is now responsible for focusing on IT ventures that deliver profits and driving profitability for their organizations through the right application of technology. This has given rise to the emergence of what a Harvey Nash/KPMG survey refers to as the “Creative CIO.”
Lisa Heneghan, KPMG’s Global CIO Advisory Service Network Leader, puts it rather eloquently. She says,”We are on the cusp of a significant development in the 4th Industrial Revolution. This is driving new demands on the CIO and we are seeing the evolution of a ‘Creative CIO’ who is both a technology and business strategist, and a business model innovator. This Creative CIO is moving away from ‘keeping the lights on’, to enabling the business to create value.”
The survey also reveals that two-thirds of CIOs are now being made responsible for generating revenue specifically, in addition to their other functions, causing a major shift in the CIO’s priorities.
Let’s dig a little deeper into Lisa’s powerful description.
How does the CIO go beyond ‘keeping the lights on’, to enabling the business to create value?
- Implementation of newer digital technologies across various organizational departments: The CIO should lead the discussion on innovation and work with the board and all stakeholders to determine the right approach to digital transformation. This includes analyzing opportunities and threats with new technologies such as cloud computing and devising the right approach to harness favorable business results.
- Realizing the power of Big Data: Big Data is going to a major game-changer. The more an organization knows about what worked and what didn’t, the better they can tweak their future decisions. CIOs that know how to harness the power of Big Data analytics will be able to deliver superior value to their respective organizations.
- Dealing with cyber security threats preemptively: Cyber attacks cost organizations top dollar both in terms of revenue and reputation lost and the subsequent increase in IT spend to step up their security game. With the CIO being almost solely held responsible for protecting the organization and its application from cyber threats, cybersecurity has to become a primary focus area.
- Shifting gears to become Agile: Evolving markets and technologies have created a pressing need for CIOs to embrace Agile. Digital transformation, uninterrupted delivery capability and the company’s own growth can only happen when CIOs adopt the Agile way of doing business.
All this talk of reinventing IT really boils down to one key factor: simplification. When organizational hierarchy is made less rigid and communication channels across all departments are kept open, that’s when real innovation and change can happen. Realizing that IT is a common vein that impacts the organization as a whole is a pivotal foundation to building an innovative business environment.
In an age of fast change, CIOs who want to be merchants of disruption, have to break the shackles of traditional approaches and become both futuristic in their approach and strategic in their thinking. Finally, it is worth noting that the CIO who will emerge the winner in this race for IT transformation is most likely the one that will make delivering superior customer experience their topmost priority.
If you are looking to transform the current state of your IT and adopt newer technologies for better business value, then talking to one of our IT experts could be the way forward.