Chief information officers (CIOs) and other IT leaders need to take a more prominent role in their company’s business, ensuring that technology is used to drive money-making operations rather than simply keep servers ticking over.
This has been the message spouted across the technology industry over the past few years. And I agree that the days of IT being seen as a support crew to the other pillars of a business are over.
I’ve been fortunate to share several gin and tonics with a few CIOs lately and have gathered that, while they are happy assuming this new responsibility, technology adoption, innovation and execution also needs to be driven by bosses beyond the confines of the IT department.
Too often non-IT areas of a businesses are happy to adopt the latest shiny hardware and software rolled out by IT, but lack the scope to work with IT to find and integrate technologies that drive their area of the company.
Instead, IT tends to get bothered by workers wanting the latest iPhone or having trouble changing the desktop background to a photo of their cat.
This is a shame as the variety of V3 stories that cover the transformative effect of a clever bit of cloud or software adoption on the way a business operates shows how significant technology can be.
I believe that technology adoption needs to be driven by the leaders of all departments in a company, not just the IT team. Digital transformation agendas should be company-wide, and not just fall onto the shoulders of beleaguered CIOs who already have to consider the business effects of technology projects and balance legacy IT with cloud services.
Technology is now such an embedded part of daily life for everyone at Western and multinational companies that it is as much the responsibly of the chief financial and chief operating officers as it is the CIO.
IT is breaking out of its traditional departmental silo, and digital technology projects need other parts of a company to get involved.
All parts of a business need to buy into digital transformation if it is to be successfully adopted. Failing to do so could see a company left with new products and software that may be cutting edge but do not meet their needs as well as they could.
If all departments get involved in technology related discussions each area of a company can ensure that it has the kit and software it needs for success.
Equally, this increased involvement will help ensure that IT related projects are successful by bringing in the skills and business acumen that some IT workers may lack.
If everyone pulls together, problems such as the security-eroding growth of shadow IT, can be better managed and bolstered by using technology to empower workers but ensuring that sensitive data remains firmly behind the firewall.
This does leave the question of who will lead this inter-departmental collaboration, as CIOs already have a fair amount on their plates. But savvy CEOs and operational leaders can work with IT to find the best ways to create the foundations and frameworks for internal partnerships.
Companies that embrace this approach could unlock the potential benefits of a well-adjusted digital transformation. Those that do not could fall behind their rivals and slowly suffocate under the weight of siloed departments.
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