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Straight Talk IT

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Digital has gained a “terminal velocity” of hype across all facets of the IT industry over the past couple of years. However, the adoption of technologies in support of digital business outcomes can vary greatly across industries in terms of use-case maturity, cost, complexity, and time to market. For an organization to realize a digital strategy, CIOs will continue to have a pivotal delivery role, but they must position themselves as part of their organization’s “digital inner circle” to extend the role’s value beyond that of “just running IT”. It is therefore core to the role of the CIO to be the IT business leader of digital in partnership with chief digital officers (CDOs), other pertinent C-level colleagues, and relevant stakeholders. The CIO must be, from an internal perspective at least, the public face championing how IT can and will support the specific needs of LoB functions through organization-wide digital services deployed in a multi-modal manner. Ovum believes this a key opportunity for CIOs to frame their value and strengths against the digital agenda to maintain their internal and essential relevance.

This evolution of the CIO role places them at a pivotal point in terms of how they enable the IT function to be focused on the business outcomes of digital. For many CIOs, this requires the reframing of the perception of IT, a new (or significantly revised) approach to how the IT function is organized, and determining the skills required to achieve digital business goals. Striking the balance between single and multi-vendor sourcing of technology products or services continues to be at the heart of this evolution. Vendors can play a vital role for CIOs by providing support to them and their team in reframing the perception of IT as a flexible internal business partner delivering digital services. It is essential for vendors to leverage their industry-specific business knowledge with regard to the impact of digital at other clients to support the digital journey of CIOs.

In addition, Ovum advises CIOs not to lose sight of improving the quality of existing operational IT services and solutions. The hype around digital transformation means that many CIOs will face new and sometimes unrealistic pressure to deliver digital services to LoB functions. Throughout the last couple of years, Ovum has continued to witness the eagerness of LoB functions to adopt digital services as a panacea for pre-existing technology frustrations. However, the reality for many organizations is that digital transformation will be a multiyear activity that will evolve with business demands while organizations still rely on existing IT services. Ovum recommends that CIOs continue to optimize existing IT investments as their organization’s digital agenda evolves and digital services are deployed. All too often when a new mega-trend occurs, existing IT services are gradually neglected to the detriment of how the CIO is perceived.

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