Expert urges CIOs: Understand business side, speak business-like

By Espie Angelica A. de Leon

Chief information officers (CIOs) should learn the business side of their organizations and be able to talk business with chief executive officers (CEOs) and C-level executives to convince them why they should embark on digital transformation.

IDC Philippines head of operations Randy Roberts at the IDC CIO Summit 2019 on April 4 at the Shangri-la at the Fort in Taguig City

In an interview with Newsbytes.PH during the IDC CIO Summit 2019, International Data Corporation (IDC) Philippines head of operations Randy Roberts discussed the increasingly important role of CIOs and IT departments in the enterprise.

“CIOs have to be able to speak the business language, talk about consumer experience, return on investment, OPEX and CAPEX,” said Roberts, “so that they can communicate to the board that ‘we’re transforming digitally and this is why.’”

While acknowledging there is indeed technology behind digital transformation, Roberts stated that it’s also about business impact. “If CIOs continue to talk technology, the business people just won’t understand it,” he explained.

Likewise, IT departments should start becoming proactive instead of being just a group that supports email and cloud.

“IT departments can’t continue to be a call center. They can’t focus on operational excellence, cutting costs. They need to do those things,” he explained. “But in the future, they need to become a revenue center for the company. They need to use their capability to actually help drive some of the new product development, have some of the ideas that say ‘we have this technology, how can we monetize this technology? How can we become a revenue center for the company, develop new products and services, think about new business models?’”

With these, even key performance indicators (KPIs) for IT departments should change, according to Roberts.

Present-day KPIs center on the amount of uptime and bandwidth these departments provide or how fast they respond to a trouble ticket, and other such issues.

But Roberts said future KPIs will be about how many new products did the department develop, how much new revenues it generated, what new business models did it help create, how did it help in executing a new product, whether it was able to deliver that new product in time, among others.

Roberts delivered a talk titled “The CIO’s Digital Determination Playbook” at the IDC summit held at the Shangri-la at the Fort in Taguig City on April 4.

In his talk, he shared some of the advisory firm’s predictions about CIOs in Asia Pacific:

By 2020, 55% of CIOs will develop a digital trust framework that will empower organizations to get back on their toes after adverse events instead of merely preventing cyberattacks

By 2021, 60% of CIOs will be strongly applying data and AI to IT in their organizations; 60% will also enable “agile connectivity” via APIs and architectures that interconnect digital solutions from cloud vendors, system developers, startups, and others; and 45% will expand agile/DevOps practices into the wider business

By 2022, 75% of CIOs who don’t transform their enterprises will fail; while 55% of enterprises will have their CIOs modernizing governance policies in the face of AI, machine learning, data privacy and ethics.

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