CIOs Will Lead Digital Innovation

Andrew Rieser
By Andrew Rieser | Co-Founder and CEO, Mountain Point
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The CIO’s role in business today is far-wider reaching and higher up on the boardroom agenda than ever before.


Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, Social and Connected Devices are driving innovation across all industries.  Forward thinking businesses are preparing for a future filled with connected devices and disrupting the status quo - pushing the boundaries of innovation.

“Every industry that you look at is going through a fundamental transformation as the entire industry gets instrumented.” - Vivek Kundra (Executive Vice President for Industries at

Kundra sees the current connected phase of technology as being the third wave of computing, the first two being the 1960s mainframe era and the 1990s personal computing world. We are now in an era of the Internet of Everything; the intelligent connection of people, process, data and things.

“You have to decide whether you want to ride or be swallowed by this third wave of computing,” says Kundra. ”History is littered with examples of companies that have been destroyed.”

With decades old business systems and processes, most business owners and leaders are still struggling to identify how their business can catch up with; and more importantly benefit from, adopting and integrating new technologies.

Driving Digital Innovation and Change

According to Gartner, the CIO is the title most responsible for driving digital innovation and change, the latest sign that the role is continuing to evolve away from a reputation for just managing back-office technologies.

Instead of looking at the world as a series of systems, networks, and data schemas from an enterprise top-down view, CIOs are now focusing on bridging the gap between business strategy and technology execution.

Elevate IT from Service Provider to Business Partner

Technology-driven innovation is fast becoming a key lever for organizations to realize competitive advantage, a message reinforced by the fact that almost two thirds of CIOs confirmed that innovation is a key part of their organization’s business strategy. To accomplish this, CIOs are:

  • Reconnecting: When it comes to setting business strategy, three out of four C-suite executives want their CIO to play an active advisory role.  They are getting more engaged across all business functions to better understand how technology and data can improve sales, marketing, operations, and finance.

  • Rebuilding:  Leading CIOs are identifying key ways to leverage the latest technology forces and trends to drive new business capabilities and are able to clearly articulate how this investment will create business value.

  • Reimagining:  By instilling a culture of innovation within your organization and encouraging your staff to challenge current thinking and giving people the space and time to develop new ideas - embracing productive failure.

  • Redelivering: Look for and identify combinations of ways that Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, Social, and Connected Devices can provide business leaders with insights and improve decision-making - providing the right information, to the right person, at the right time on the device of choice.

Customer Journey

As CIOs begin reimagining and redelivering within their organizations, they are often starting with a better understanding of the customer journey and how mobile and social are transforming the user experience.

Along the way, customers are interacting with your business and brand across multiple channels (web, social media, customer service) for information, recommendations and ultimately wanting the experience to be pleasant and easy.

What to consider when thinking about how your customers engage with your business:

  • Actions: What is the customer doing at each stage (touchpoint) before and after they buy?

  • Motivations: What will encourage your customers (or discourage them) from moving to the next stage? What emotions do they feel in each one of the stages?

  • Questions: Where do customers get hung up? What questions and uncertainties do they have? Are they having a hard time finding answers causing them to give up and find a different company or product? How can you improve the customer experience by proactively addressing questions and concerns your customers have as they move through the stages?

  • Obstacles: What obstacles do customers confront in each of the stages? Is cost a factor? The return policy? Think about anything that might cause the customer to give up and not complete the sales cycle while moving through the customer journey.

“If you don’t invest in the future and don’t plan for the future, there won’t be one.” - Sir George Buckley (Former Chairman, President, CEO of 3m)

How is your organization driving digital transformation and riding the third wave of innovation?


Sources: NetworkedGlobeWSJ, Forbes, Deloitte, McKinsey, SurveyMonkey

Topics: Digital Transformation

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