CIOs Have To Re-Imag­ine How They Work And Cre­ate Work­places

Top 5 best prac­tices for CIOs to un­bun­dle the dig­i­tal com­plex­i­ties and cre­ate a roadmap and lead the dig­i­tal transformation jour­ney

Dataquest - - C9ONTENTS - (The au­thor is CIO at Tata Tech­nolo­gies)

Dig­i­tal dis­rup­tion is rapidly chang­ing the role of CIOs. The dis­rup­tion caused by dig­i­tal is both an op­por­tu­nity and challenge for a CIO. It is im­por­tant to un­der­stand the world we live in to­day. There are sev­eral macro level shifts that are chang­ing the way we work, live, learn and play. Here’s look­ing at the top five best prac­tices for CIOs, en­abling them to lead this trans­for­ma­tive dig­i­tal jour­ney. DIG­I­TAL READI­NESS We are liv­ing in a very dy­namic busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment shaped by a fast-chang­ing dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy land­scape.

Go­ing vir­tual, mo­bile, and so­cial are three mega trends that are cre­at­ing a world of op­por­tu­ni­ties for or­ga­ni­za­tions to ef­fec­tively and ef­fi­ciently con­nect with their cus­tomers, em­ploy­ees and ecosys­tem part­ners. To­day, it is be­com­ing im­per­a­tive for or­ga­ni­za­tions to adopt dig­i­tal strate­gies across their operations not just for cut­ting costs but also to in­crease em­ployee pro­duc­tiv­ity, bring in process ef­fi­cien­cies and most im­por­tantly, to en­gage bet­ter with their au­di­ence.

As the pace of dig­i­tal­iza­tion in­creases, so does the com­pa­nies’ need to adopt or up­grade their dig­i­tal in­volve­ment. Un­der any given sit­u­a­tion, one of the top-most pri­or­i­ties for a CIO should be to pre­pare an or­ga­ni­za­tion to par­tic­i­pate and sus­tain itself dur­ing its transformation. In an eco-sys­tem built around con­tem­po­rary, con­nected tech­nolo­gies, it is manda­tory to shake the foun­da­tion of legacy busi­ness mod­els to usher in new-age dig­i­tal busi­ness mod­els.

Many en­ter­prises still hold back from com­pletely em­brac­ing dig­i­tal due to a lack of aware­ness and se­cu­rity. There is an am­bi­gu­ity across sev­eral lev­els in­clud­ing tech­nol­ogy com­pe­tency, costs of dig­i­tal de­ploy­ment, dig­i­tal ar­chi­tec­ture stack, etc.

CIOs need to work more closely with the or­ga­ni­za­tions to cre­ate aware­ness and ed­u­cate en­ter­prises about dig­i­tal ben­e­fits and their po­ten­tial to bring about a transformation across in­dus­tries.

UPSKILLING THE WORK­FORCE

Mov­ing to dig­i­tal busi­ness eco-sys­tems re­quires a spe­cific set of IT ca­pa­bil­i­ties. CIOs have re­peat­edly iden­ti­fied the lack of tech­nol­ogy skills to be one of the big­gest bar­ri­ers in the way of dig­i­tal­iza­tion. Upskilling has long evolved from be­ing just a choice. To­day, it is a ne­ces­sity for the in­com­ing gen­er­a­tion of em­ploy­ees as well as the ex­ist­ing ones. As the pace of dig­i­ti­za­tion will not pause, it is im­per­a­tive that a con­tin­ued, un­in­ter­rupted and rapid upskilling done for the em­ploy­ees so that the com­pany can em- brace the change as well. New tal­ent with the lat­est dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy ex­per­tise needs to be added to their pay­rolls while ex­ist­ing ones are scaled. The com­pany struc­ture also needs to evolve to help their em­ploy­ees learn new skills and grow in the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

The IT in­dus­try is also trans­form­ing pro­cesses and is now rapidly scal­ing up ex­ist­ing tech­nolo­gies to work in tan­dem with the on­go­ing dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion to tran­si­tion into a dig­i­tal en­tity smoothly. This evo­lu­tion is cre­at­ing new jobs with ex­per­tise in soft­ware and hard­ware in­no­va­tions by re­design­ing, re­think­ing and re­hash­ing their man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses. The sec­tor is em­bed­ding dig­i­tal­iza­tion and per­fect­ing the skills in the sec­tor to bring a global spot­light to the In­dian IT sec­tor through dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing in­no­va­tions. This de­rives the need for the work­force to change their thought pro­cesses too and im­bibe dis­rup­tive as well as in­cre­men­tal in­no­va­tion at the core of their work. Mean­while, com­pa­nies need to step in to em­power their mass work­force to ex­per­i­ment more and cre­ate in­no­va­tions that would be in line with the aim of be­com­ing a leader in their field with a dif­fer­en­ti­ated prod­uct.

It is there­fore im­per­a­tive for CIOs to build full-stack com­pe­ten­cies and spe­cial­ist IT skills to en­sure that the work­force can ef­fec­tively move along with the or­ga­ni­za­tion as it charts new dig­i­tal ter­ri­to­ries.

PLAC­ING IOT AT THE CEN­TRE OF THE COM­PANY

In­ter­net of Things (IoT) goes be­yond fan­ci­ful con­nected de­vices. It is the whole process of col­lect­ing data em­bed­ded in a range of ma­chines, wear­ables, ve­hi­cles and our over­all work en­vi­ron­ment. Con­sid­er­ing we are func­tion­ing amidst an all-en­gulf­ing dig­i­tal ex­plo­sion, it should be a CIO’s pri­or­ity to iden­tify, as­cer­tain and then ac­cel­er­ate roll out of IoT-led op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Glob­ally, IoT has seen de­ploy­ments across Trans­porta­tion, Util­i­ties, Re­tail, Lo­gis­tics and Se­cu­rity. Over the next decade, a huge adop­tion of IoT is ex­pected across sec­tors. It is an­tic­i­pated to bring billions of data-gen­er­at­ing de­vices on­line and con­nect the vast stream of data with peo­ple, pro­cesses and other de­vices. Ap­pli­ca­tions for smart city, smart ve­hi­cles, as­set track­ing, home au­to­ma­tion, smart fac­tory, etc. are go­ing to wit­ness mas­sive adop­tion and im­ple­men­ta­tion. More than 50% of world’s pop­u­la­tion and things will be on­line and con­nected to each other by 2020.

IoT and ro­bots have a huge po­ten­tial in In­dia and soon will be­come a ba­sic re­quire­ment for en­ter­prises. How­ever, for the mas­sive adop­tion of IoT, a host of things need to be in place such as the sen­sor ecosys­tem, se­cu­rity and pri­vacy stan­dards, do­main ap­pli­ca­tions, con­tent as well

Mov­ing to dig­i­tal busi­ness ecosys­tems re­quires a spe­cific set of IT ca­pa­bil­i­ties. CIOs have re­peat­edly iden­ti­fied the lack of tech­nol­ogy skills to be one of the big­gest bar­ri­ers in the way of dig­i­tal­iza­tion

as uni­form stan­dards. The gov­ern­ment and in­dus­try play­ers need to work to­gether to en­sure that the ecosys­tem per­forms to its true po­ten­tial. Ini­tia­tives like Dig­i­tal In­dia and Smart Cities will cer­tainly drive adop­tion of this tech­nol­ogy across in­dus­tries in the com­ing years.

BUSI­NESS ALIGN­MENT

In­dia’s ever-ex­pand­ing dig­i­tal land­scape al­lowed In­dian com­pa­nies to get ahead of the global curve in em­bed­ding tech­nol­ogy into their busi­ness func­tions. Whether it’s big data an­a­lyt­ics, knowl­edge man­age­ment or even ef­fi­cient dig­i­tal-en­abled pro­cesses and ser­vices, many are reap­ing the ben­e­fits of smart tech­nol­ogy adop­tion. This focus on tech­nol­ogy has also brought about a fun­da­men­tal change in the com­pa­nies’ DNA. Tech­nol­ogy spe­cial­ists, in the form of a Chief In­for­ma­tion Of­fi­cer are play­ing an in­creas­ingly im­por­tant role in strate­gic de­ci­sion mak­ing, and are in­creas­ingly con­sid­ered among the top three de­ci­sion mak­ers in a com­pany. In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy has moved on from be­ing a sup­port func­tion to a strate­gic one.

Top per­form­ing CIOs al­ways echo their CEO’s pri­ma­cies, with a ded­i­cated em­pha­sis on busi­ness growth and dig­i­tal­iza­tion. Work­ing with dif­fer­ent busi­ness units, meet­ing their needs, cater­ing to their pri­or­i­ties and an over­all busi­ness align­ment con­tin­ues to be one of the top most best prac­tices for a CIO.

The in­creas­ing im­por­tance of tech­nol­ogy has al­tered hir­ing trends even in tra­di­tional sec­tors, who are in­creas­ingly cre­at­ing more tech­nol­ogy po­si­tions across ver­ti­cals to in­te­grate the dig­i­tal big pic­ture into ex­ist­ing struc­tures. This trend will only in­crease over the fore­see­able fu­ture, as com­pa­nies embed dig­i­tal in their DNA.

CUS­TOMER EX­PE­RI­ENCE

CIOs need to go be­yond ‘cus­tomer cen­tric­ity’ and start talk­ing ‘cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence’ in­stead. There should be an ob­ses­sive focus on ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause – 75% of the con­sumers en­ter­ing the mar­ket by 2025 will be dig­i­tal na­tives. They will de­mand the same ex­pe­ri­ence which were ex­posed to while grow­ing up. Their loy­alty will be driven by the ex­pe­ri­ence they get while in­ter­act­ing through dif­fer­ent chan­nels.

To­day’s mar­kets are highly com­pet­i­tive and are shrink­ing due to dy­namic dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies. It is im­per­a­tive for CIOs to be able to spot the tini­est of cus­tomer gripes and drill down their chal­lenges. New me­dia has en­abled con­sumers to in­stantly con­nect with one an­other, com­pare, an­a­lyze and fi­nally de­cide on their pur­chas­ing de­ci­sions. The abil­ity to re­ceive real-time feed­back from any­where in the world has dras­ti­cally al­tered consumer be­hav­ior. This has also nar­rowed down the win­dow busi­nesses have in hand to ad­dress cus­tomer griev­ances. Un­der such ac­tive sit­u­a­tions, it is cru­cial for CIOs to be in con­stant touch with con­sumers and un­der­stand the fac­tors that drive their buy­ing be­hav­ior. In-time tech­nol­ogy up­grades en­hanc­ing cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence can go a long way in build­ing and sus­tain­ing a loyal consumer base.

In the con­text of these tran­si­tions, CIOs will have to reimag­ine how they work and cre­ate work­places and mar­ket­places for the dig­i­tal na­tives. They must un­der­take a much more im­mer­sive role in the over­all play of operations in an en­ter­prise. The new trends are per­suad­ing the CIOs across dif­fer­ent ver­ti­cals to think se­ri­ously about the next gen­er­a­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties nec­es­sary for per­sonal, cor­po­rate and mar­ket­place con­sump­tion.

The IT in­dus­try is also trans­form­ing pro­cesses and is now rapidly scal­ing up ex­ist­ing tech­nolo­gies to work in tan­dem with the on­go­ing dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion to tran­si­tion into a dig­i­tal en­tity smoothly

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