CIO: the new corporate agent of change

The CIO has technology to thank for his or her meteoric rise in business. At one point in the not too distant past, these executives spent most of their time just keeping the corporate lights on, managing data, servers and IT infrastructure.

Advances in tech mean they now spend less time on these tasks and more on high-level, strategic activities. New and affordable tools across a spectrum of business processes ensure the CIO can elevate their position, establish themselves as digital pioneers and business enablers.

“The CIO now has a critical role assisting the CEO to drive commerce forward. They have the potential to reimagine business through digital disruption. Therefore, they are now the new agents of change,” says Jon Wrennall, chief technology officer at Advanced, the UK’s third largest software and services company.

By the end of 2017, two thirds of the chief executives of Global 2000 companies will be placing digital transformation at the centre of their corporate strategy, according to research firm IDC. At the same time, research from the Global Centre for Digital Business shows digital disruption is still not viewed as a board-level matter by 45 per cent of companies.

“Many organisations are only in the early stages of digital transformation, but the savvy CIO can seize the opportunity to drive real change and be seen as a C-suite leader. Businesses are crying out for that joined-up, end-to-end view of data across departments and CIOs are in the best position to deliver this,” explains Mr Wrennall, whose company services more than 20,000 customers.

“Adapting to the technological evolution that’s occurring is one of the biggest issues. The challenge is when there’s so much exponential change going on, how do you then be an agent of change?”

Expectations are also extremely high. They’re being set by employees’ personal digital experiences outside work. Fast connections to the internet and the use of the latest devices are now the norm. Great expectations are filtering through into people’s work life.

We help organisations up their digital game, transform businesses and create strong digital DNA

“Digital transformation is also about holistic business change,” says Rob Bruce, head of technology at PRS. “Every senior stakeholder must be on board and they need to understand that evolution must take place.”

According to Advanced’s Trends Report of 1,000 business professionals in the UK, 55 per cent believe their IT infrastructure limits their ability to respond quickly to customers’ issues, while 70 per cent think automation of manual tasks would free up valuable time to focus on value-added services.

“IT legacy systems are a big issue. Yes, you need to keep the lights on and the IT engine running, but you can’t do the exciting stuff and reimagine your business if you’re just firefighting. This is where we come in,” says Mr Wrennall.

“We help organisations up their digital game, transform businesses and create strong digital DNA. It’s about championing connected IT infrastructure, joining up existing silos, and employing the right toolkits for each sector and company we work with.”

If CIOs get the digital transformation process right then business leaders can achieve incredible results. They will have access to real-time information across their company, with up-to-date business forecasts mapped against sales, marketing, human resources and operations, as well as increasing use of powerful cloud services. Organisations can in turn become more integrated, efficient, innovative and agile.

“It’s about gaining control and acting on data-driven insights in real time. Digital transformation today also allows you to bring on board new tech tomorrow. It’s therefore high time CIOs stepped up and became the catalyst that ensures their organisation stays relevant, valued and strategic,” Mr Wrennall concludes.

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