“Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future”. Quoting Yoda from Star Wars may be something of a cliché but, in my opinion, this is one of his finest observations: That the future never stands still and is forever unpredictable. It applies to everyone involved in digital business. We need to respond to readjustments and changes all the time. This is particularly true for the CIO. Just like Yoda, the CIO is responsible for a strong foundation and must be able to act as a mentor and advisor to the business.
But what should tomorrow’s CIOs look like, and what should be their areas of responsibility? CIOs are facing many challenges; while being measured on quality and economy in daily IT operations, they must also drive innovation and stay close to the business and its chief decision-makers. It may, however, be a challenge for the CIO to drive innovation while keeping IT costs at a reasonable level.
Luckily, things are going in the right direction. The business and its management are beginning to understand that the IT department and the CIO are indispensable in the complex process of modeling the company. They recognise that IT is imperative when building the processes necessary for any transformation. We can also see this in larger transformations, such as the one that DSV Road, a global supplier of transport and logistics solutions, has recently pushed through. DSV Road are planning to implement a new IT system to support increased co-operation across business units and ensure growth in the long run. It is one of their largest ever IT projects, but they did not have a clear business model and were not able to define the framework for a new comprehensive IT system. We helped them develop a common understanding of the future business model and how future strategic initiatives, such as new IT systems, needed to be implemented. A fine example of how to include IT in the business!
Moreover, the CIO must be the prime mover in the overall digitisation strategy, which has an impact on internal business processes such as accounts, production and customer interactions. This is something we are seeing much more frequently in Denmark, where I am based. In December 2012, the Danish government established a growth team that is preparing a set of recommendations to help strengthen digital growth. Figures show that Denmark’s digital economy accounted for more than 5.8 per cent of the total GDP in 2010.
So there is no doubt that the CIO is needed – not only in his traditional role, but more and more as the architect that contributes to the shaping of the company, helping it become flexible so it can resist crisis and strengthen the financial foundation of the business.