Happy New Year! As we ring out the old and ring in the new, I would like to share with you my thoughts on change - in cities, in histories and in roles as well. Recently I was at Istanbul for Wipro Leading Edge - our annual colloquium. As I was enjoying the sights with my CIO friends and customers, I was struck by the dichotomy that this city presents at every turn: contemporary new buildings cheek-by-jowl with ancient mosques and minarets, its twin religious heritages in Christianity and Islam, and so on. It suddenly occurred to me that Istanbul is a perfect metaphor for the role of today's CIO, poised as it is between its long and glorious history and a dynamic modern world. This is not unlike the role of today's CIO, who is being asked to tread a fine line between his/her old operational role as the manager of the IT cost center, and his/her new role as a business strategist, who is expected to be a leader at the enterprise level.
As Gartner Vice President Richard Hunter said, in order to fulfill this role, the CIO must fulfill three business agendas:
1. RUN THE BUSINESS (RTB):
This refers to the essential enterprise activities that do not connect directly to a particular customer segment or to a particular revenue stream; for example, installing ERP, desktop configuration and maintenance, etc. RTB activities are the CIO's bread and butter and consume about 60% of his resources.
2. GROW THE BUSINESS (GTB):
This involves enhancing business performance in established markets serving established customer segments with established value propositions. For banks this may imply encouraging customers to take on other services like overdraft, loans, and credit cards. Over the past decade, only 25% of the CIO's resources were allocated to GTB activities.
3. TRANSFORM THE BUSINESS (TTB)
This looks at entering new markets with new value propositions for new customer segments; for example, an insurance company entering into healthcare service delivery based on trends captured from the claims data. TTB has traditionally not been a CIO's priority, with less than 15% of resources allocated to it.
Let's look at these three focus areas with a real life example: Apple transformed itself by becoming an entertainment powerhouse via its iTunes business. The launch of iPhone5 depicted growth, because the market, the customer segment(s), and the value proposition were well-established. And when Apple recently added to its data center capacity, it was just running the business.
So, my fellow CIOs, how can we leverage the various forces of technology to transform business in the organization? One way could be by enabling the sales team's work-flows and systems on their mobile devices, so that everything that they want to sell is available to them on their phones. This will definitely help them to grow the business. Or maybe, trace that one customer who has just tweeted about a service failure and turn around the negative sentiment into a positive and memorable experience? Any other ideas? Do write in with your thoughts!