CIOs Should 'Own' Digital Business Technologies

By Karen A. Frenkel  |  Posted 08-21-2014 Email Print this article Print

CIOs should decide how to position their organization in relation to emerging digital business technologies, like the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, wearable technology and robotics, according to a new Gartner report titled "How CIOs Need to Think About Business Digital Technologies." IT organizations are used to owning and supporting back-office technologies—in contrast to digital business technologies which support the front office and operations—so some CIOs may hesitate to take them on. Another reason for reticence is that digital business technologies are new. If CIOs choose a supportive role in relation to these technologies, operations and other business departments may take the lead, Gartner cautions. "Regardless of their eventual stance, we believe CIOs should have an opinion, and should participate in innovating and in testing business cases for these technologies in the early stages," says Gartner Vice President and Fellow Hung LeHong. "Many companies are looking to digital business technologies as their next source of competitive advantage. There is too much at stake… for CIOs to in the margins." Gartner has identified six areas within digital business technologies, highlighted below, that CIOs should consider. For the full report, click here.

  • Internet of Things (IoT)

    IoT will create political tension between IT operations and product development. But because IoT is consumer-centered, there are only a few legacy deployments so CIOs can get in on the ground floor.
    Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Industrial-Centered IoT Opportunities

    CIOs should approach industrial-centered IoT with a light hand because engineering and operation groups probably invested in a pre-existing body of technology. CIOs should navigate carefully and plan ahead for the resources and skills they will need from those groups.
    Industrial-Centered IoT Opportunities
  • The Potential of 3D Printing

    CIOs should not underestimate the transformational potential of 3D printing. It could eliminate the need to import certain products and affect key actors in one's supply chain.
    The Potential of 3D Printing
  • Niche 3D Printing

    Although 3D printing could remain a niche market, Gartner advises CIOs to investigate how transformational or not it may be to their industry, enterprise and intellectual property.
    Niche 3D Printing
  • Human Augmentation and Wearable Technologies

    Human augmentation and wearable technologies may improve employee effectiveness, safety and health. CIOs will need to consider human, legal, social and ethical issues, all of which will vary depending on location and employee demographics.
    Human Augmentation and Wearable Technologies
  • The Upfront Cost of Robotics and Autonomous Machines

    The convergence of computers, mechanical systems and electronics, like cameras and sensors, has resulted in novel advances in robotics and autonomous machines. New robots will have an impact on CIOs' budgets as robots could cost the equivalent of one minimum-wage employee.
    The Upfront Cost of Robotics and Autonomous Machines
  • Automation and Labor Costs

    Autonomous machines and robots may be initially costly, but CIOs should look beyond labor savings to the benefits of less machine wear, shorter lead times, greater safety, and less downtime.
    Automation and Labor Costs
  • The Judgment of Cognitive Machines

    Cognitive machines can handle decision-making and act as personal assistants or interact with customers. CIOs should think about repetitive tasks that these machines could perform to complement, rather than replace, employees.
    The Judgment of Cognitive Machines
  • Cyber Security and Digital Business Technologies

    Security responsibilities for digital business technologies are not usually found in IT security departments, but that is changing. Security support will require more collaboration with security staff and physical security personnel.
    Cyber Security and Digital Business Technologies
  • Digital Business Technology Personnel

    After CIOs have identified how and when digital business technologies will be relevant to their industry, they should identify and hire personnel with digital business technology skills.
    Digital Business Technology Personnel
Karen A. Frenkel writes about technology and innovation and lives in New York City.


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Thanks for your registration, follow us on our social networks to keep up-to-date