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State of the CIO 2014: Treading new ground

Divina Paredes | June 12, 2014
Our annual State of the CIO research reveals how digitisation is prompting CIOs to apply their skills in leading transformation programs to their own roles.

Disruption, a term describing the raft of technology trends around cloud, social and mobile is taking on a different meaning for CIOs as they realise it is also happening, faster than ever, in their respective roles.

"Historically, the CIO role has been internally facing, it has been about servicing internal customers," says Mark Baker, director of MIH Consulting. "As the world has gone more digital — with various incarnations of cloud, software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service — companies are looking for the digital edge."

"Innovative companies" like Amazon and Air New Zealand are seen as having this edge. "Now, it is expected that companies have an element of their competitive strategy around digital."

"CIOs are now spending more time on competitive business propositions, strategies, how they embrace the 700 new things that have turned out this week because in the digital age everything is moving so fast."

"As a consequence the technology discussions that used to stay in the backroom is coming to the executive table."

The important thing to stop shadow IT getting completely out of control is to be the person who helps people get things done.

This is how Baker, a business strategy consultant following a succession of CIO and chief roles in New Zealand enterprises including Foodstuffs Auckland and Fletcher Distribution, sums up the changed landscape CIOs operate in today — and how these shifts are affecting the role. His insights provide a relevant backdrop to the 2014 State of the CIO report, where CIOs across the globe, including New Zealand, reveal their current and future challenges.

Based on the survey findings and interviews with New Zealand business-technology leaders, this year's report highlights some key trends that are rearranging the CIO portfolio and moving them into areas not traditionally associated with IT.

Topping the list of disruptors are digitisation as customers, suppliers and business units embrace digital platforms, and the continuing rise of 'shadow IT' brought by consumerisation of technology and the ease of moving to cloud services without IT involvement.

It is expected that companies have an element of their competitive strategy around digital.

Simultaneous reinventions

New Zealand business technology leaders share pointers on thriving in this environment.

The mind-set of a CIO has got to be around stepping beyond the traditional boundary of IT, looking after applications or infrastructure, says Andrew Crabb, head of enterprise solutions and services at Vodafone New Zealand.

"How can I add value? How do I support the organisation in all they want to do in a totally different business market?

"Traditional businesses are reinventing themselves, everyone is on that mode," Crabb continues. "A lot of the existing organisations will be swamped or surpassed by these new technologies."


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