For CIOs, it’s clearly the best of tech times and the worst of tech times. On one hand, today’s digital technology offers opportunities that were unthinkable in the past. It can blaze a trail to innovation and industry disruption. On the other hand, assembling the right mix of tools and solutions—and achieving maximum results—is daunting.
“The evolving environment is unlike anything we have seen before,” observes Frank Diana, principal for Future of Business at Tata Consultancy Services. “The pace of change is accelerating and the trajectory is exponential.”
How can CIOs manage the slew of technologies that now intersect within the enterprise, including unified communications, mobility, cloud services, artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things? How can business and IT leaders cope with a more decentralized model of procurement, development and deployment? And, perhaps most importantly, how can they address complex digital business challenges and build a foundation for future success?
“CIOs will need to connect the dots and think differently,” Diana explains. “They must place a strong focus on understanding and rehearsing massively transformative future scenarios.”
Rethinking the Workforce and the Digital Workplace
It’s no secret that rapidly changing technology is changing everything. “With this shift, CIOs and technology leaders need to consider how they can best equip their organizations for the digital age,” states Jason Warnke, managing director and global collaboration lead at Accenture.
A starting point for navigating this digital frontier is addressing the work skills that are required to take full advantage of the technology. “CIOs need to invest time and effort into properly training their workforce in new areas, from cloud-based services to new video broadcasting capabilities,” he says.
Of course, skills are only part of the picture. A successful digital business transformation framework revolves around a more mobile, agile workforce that takes full advantage of the cloud. There’s a growing need to provide employees with greater choices about their work tools or how they go about their daily tasks.
“This helps teams work and collaborate in the way that fits them as individuals and groups,” Warnke explains. “One size doesn’t fit all. It’s important for the CIO to lead the pack in enabling a host of viable choices and provide some guidance on which tools can be best leveraged for the particular use case at hand.”
Yet, ultimately, all roads lead to greater agility, flexibility and scalability. Speed, efficiency and cost-cutting are unavoidable realities of the digital age, but improvements must extend across multiple business units, processes and applications.
“The cloud provides these benefits,” Warnke says. “It is changing the ways in which businesses operate and deliver services by providing access to capabilities faster than ever before.”