How IDC Sustain CIOs in Digital Transformation Process

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Ten years ago any second slide from any IT corporate presentation started with inevitable title: “Networking Industry Challenges”… Five years ago the same introductory slide started with: “Internet resources challenges”. Now, every 8 from 10 corporate presentations from all industries are using as introductory buzz: “Digital transformation challenges”…

It’s interesting the digital transformation tsunami looks to disrupt in the same way all companies, from any industry, but IT providers are affected first of all. From the managerial perspective, the responsibilities for “What are next?” be involving at the same time CEOs, CFOs, CDOs, but first of all CIOs…

How is disrupted the CIO role in organization level

The disruption power of digital waves is leading CIOs to fundamentally change the traditional technologies issues. Until yesterday the main CIOs attribution was more related to IT operations management, packaged software deployment, security prevention and risk minimization, having as main goals the general systems stability and cost reduction.

Today CIOs are forced to embrace a more expansive view of their roles, involving direct participation in company’s revenues increasing, customer experience improving and digital strategy shaping.

Who should conduct digital transformation process?

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Analyst community is still divided discussing the main role in the digital economy. While majority opinion shows that CEOs should have the main contribution in digital vision and strategy establishment, it is clear that the major role in the transformation process coordination should be played by CIOs.

Looking to the business implication at organization level, it’s hard to see the limits. The goals for different departments should be aligned internally like general strategy, operational issues and process evaluation also. At the same time, the leader who establishes the vision and strategy needs strong technology knowledge and a clear understanding of transformation processes as well.

Anyway the biggest issues in CIO’s leadership will be focusing on digital business needs function of the organization’s capabilities and resources availability.  According IDC FutureScape: Worldside CIO Agenda 2016 Predictions”, 66% of CEOs plan to focus on digital transformation strategies for 2016 having in CIOs the major players in leading every department through this shift. The same report shows not many CIOs are confident in their managerial skills, only 25% being confident in how they will drive new digital streams.

Organizations have to solve now this dilemma: CEOs need CIOs in conducting role of business transformation process but CIO’s majority looks to be not ready for this demanding role. Without CIO’s technology skills a company will have not the power to adopt the key drivers of digital transformations: innovation, integration and incorporation.

While digital transformation is crucial on business success IDC predicts that by 2018, 70% of digital transformation initiatives could ultimately fail because of „ insufficient collaboration, integration, and sourcing or project management. In order to have successful digital transformation in a company, the same study shows „leaders need to encourage cross-functional collaboration around digital initiative”. IT teams will also need to use the “maturity it has achieved in agile project management, integrated service management and enterprise security to support the transformation engine,” according IDC.

6 ways CIOs should conduct digital transformation in the enterprises

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Synthesizing the main conclusions of specialists researches, we can discuss about six essential powers CIOs needs to win in today’s digital transformation war:

  • Digital strategy – CIO must be able to articulate a coherent digital strategy, aligned with business objectives and to make that well understood at organization level;
  • Technology innovative leader: will continue to be the main charge of any CIO able to build and deploy the basic high-tech requirements;
  • Transformation leader – CIO will play a key role in digital business vision, helping to align digital initiatives with business goals;
  • Leadership abilities – any CIO should have a leading position in the strategy setting and execution;
  • Operational and financial knowledge – CIO should understand and assimilate the better cost of digital processes, being able to estimate ROI metrics;
  • Establishing and deploying process standards – is also critical to IT to deliver into digital business potential.

Are CIOs prepared for transformation leadership role?

Big majority of researches are showing a negative answer. What we have gone to do in such a short time? The better solution is to assist CIOs with digital transformation consultancy support. Are CIOs opens up this assistance? They don’t have too many to choose if they want to be digital transformation drivers for their organizations.

Could we teach CIOs in digital technologies? The answer should be definitively yes: CIOs has the technical skill to understand the innovation and to promote the value of change.

Could be CIOs good managers? This is function of their entrepreneurial skills and the opening on business metrics. Statistics shows more than 40% CIOs are ready to become CEOs in the next few years. This is part of business transformation process. In IT and other technical industries the limits of CEO’s and CIO’s competences are not so pregnant.

In other industries we can assume a lot of CIOs having managerial and economic skills, but average CEO’s technical level is under the understanding limits. This is the reason for the lack of reaction to digital changes in large categories of managers.

IT Executive Program for the CEE CIO proposed by IDC

IDC recently announced the extension of his IT Executive Program in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) Region. What is IDC’s IT Executive Program? This is an IDC initiative already tested for the US market featuring a comprehensive mix of fact-based research and advisory services for IT managers from all industries. The main goals of the program are to help organizations of the region to maximize the effectiveness of their IT investments, advising them how to identify new opportunities, how to mitigate the risks, and how to perform in business transformation process.

IDC’s initiative is starting from the clear necessity to better sustain CIOs and business leaders especially from the industries that were not considered technology dependent until recently. “IDC’s IT Executive Program is tailored to support the CIO to understand what digital transformation means for his or her industry. The program is designed to empower the CIO to be a driver of innovation in the organization, to help the CIO define his/her new role as technology becomes more integral to the business, and to concurrently support the real need to “keep the lights on” by maintaining and optimizing the existing infrastructure, service levels, and unavoidable legacy systems.” says Tom Schwieters, VP of Sales for IDC CEE and MEA.

Which are IDC’s main strengths offered as tools for specific expertise in key industries?  First of all is the analyst task force. More than 120 regional analysts and another 1,000 worldwide collaborated last year helping CIOs in CEE to receive the best answer to many specific questions like:

  • How will big data impact the pharmaceuticals manufacturing market?
  • How can oil and gas enterprises adapt to digital office trends?
  • What technologies and vendors should a large utilities firm consider when implementing its private Cloud service?
  • How should a national emergency authority organize its IT team?


After that, IDC has a lot of experience sourcing from best practices and a deeply knowledge of specifics in each market. IDC developed also some analytical processes like IDC Maturity framework which enables the measurement of organization’s development in various tech areas and management flows, providing a valuable guidance to lead the company to the desired level of development. Other example is IDC “Concierge” Service delivered as annual subscription model to IDC’s research database, including direct inquiry access to IDC’s research analysts around the globe, or to different projects to meet CIOs specific needs.  Each CIO has to solve a specific set of challenges, and IDC’s flexible delivery model is designed to adapt to these needs.

“The IT Executive Program is our fastest growing line of business and our number one investment priority over the medium term. We are very excited to broaden and deepen our advisory to CIOs around the region as they embark on the digital transformation journey,” explains Jan Siroky, VP and head of CEE Region at IDC.

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IDC CIO Summit Vienna

Part of IDC’s support for CIOs are the specific events with different focus organised periodically around the CEE and MA regions. The next IDC event in Central East Europe is CIO Summit Vienna 20-22 of April,  organised in the imperial ambiance offered by Schönbrunn Palace.

The Summit will bring together top CIOs, thought-leading IDC analysts, and innovative vendors from 30 countries offering them good moments for networking, learning, and experience exchange. Having as key message: “Rise of the Disruptive CIO”, the main topics proposed by IDC’s analysts for this Summit addressing a lot of hot subject for this digital revolution period, like: real world experiences with the today and tomorrow key technologies (Cloud, Big Data, IoT), IT security for IoT, digital transformation in the Public Sector, banking OmniChannel, and others.

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