4 Tips to Leading the Digital Enterprise


This year’s theme at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium was Lead your Digital Enterprise Forward: Are you Ready for the Next Digital Revolution? The conference focused primarily on the role CIOs play in an ever-changing tech environment and how the success (or failure) of an organization relies on forward thinking leadership. Not only must new technologies be deployed to remain competitive, but companies (starting with the CIO) must seek to revolutionize the company’s tech culture. Reluctance to change will prove to be disastrous in the coming years.
Below are several tips for CIOs that came out of the symposium which recently wrapped up in Cambridge:
1. Buy, Don’t Build…Unless
CIOs have transitioned more into a technology broker role. They serve as an intermediary between businesses and external providers. This in turn provides CIOs with more influence over technology decisions. Therefore, use this decision making power to tap into the plethora of tools and resources currently out there; instead of building your own. BUT, if you are on to something that will allow you to differentiate, the symposium suggests you build.
2. Focus on the Outcomes
Value rests in the outcomes. This is true of all IT projects, not just analytics. Use technology as a tool that can assist outcomes, whether it’s simplifying work for employees or engaging customers. When technology acts as a facilitator that aligns with business goals, it will allow employees to focus their efforts on the real challenges. 
3. Incorporate Agile Principles in All IT Decisions
Instant gratification promotes agility. Applying agile principles to all of IT, not just development will help everyone see things through the eyes of the end user. For example, instead of trying to hash out all of the details and requirements in one long meeting, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s CIO suggests having an ongoing, iterative conversation.
4. Keep the Organization Up-to-Date with IT
Businesses are nothing without IT. It’s important to stay in front of the organization and keep management in the loop on IT investment risks/rewards as well as benefits. An extremely important relationship to foster is one with the CMO. CIOs and CMOs are often disengaged – this MUST change. CMOs control a lot of the IT budget, therefore, things can move forward more cohesively and successfully if the two worked together.

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