The Art of the Possible: Be the People’s Champion

People are at the heart of all innovation. And people have always used technology as a tool to get ahead in their work and increasingly, their social lives. As the business world embraces the online, digital landscape, it also becomes more human. To ensure that new technology will be eagerly adopted and, more importantly, widely used, the CIO can make a bigger impact if they become the People’s Champion in all things related to technology.

Cloud computing, mobile computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are changing the technology landscape. As Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMWare, states, “Cloud is supercomputing power at unlimited scale. Mobile is unlimited reach. IoT is unlimited access. AI is unrivaled intelligence. It’s the cascading effect of those four things coming together at this point in time that’s ushering in the fastest piece of technical evolution that’s ever occurred in the history of mankind.” As the People’s Champion, the CIO can meet these challenges more effectively.

An important aspect of the CIO role is to be a change management leader. By assuming this responsibility, the CIO can transform an entire organization. They need to reduce friction, create an environment for innovation, and make sure that customers and employees have the applications and resources that help them be as productive as possible.

Here are five key ways that CIOs can be change management leaders:

  • Devote more time to customer-facing activities. A recent report indicates that improving customer experiences is currently the top business driver for IT investments, yet only 32% of enterprise CIOs frequently meet their customers.
  • Push for customer-impacting innovations. Deloitte’s global CIO survey showed that 57% of CIOs chose “customers” as their top business priority, yet only 45% believed that their IT organizations used technology to improve the customer experience.
  • Support and nurture agile leaders in IT. An established process for innovation attracts and inspires effective people, and empowered leaders in IT can implement the technology changes that will keep the organization nimble, safe, and efficient.
  • Embrace the cloud. Cloud-based platforms, development tools, and infrastructure are critical for IT organizations to be quick and responsive. In addition, since CIOs spend 72% of their budgets on existing IT, compared to 28% on new projects, removing legacy hardware would generate significant cost savings.
  • Drive integration of digital technology in all business areas. According to Forrester Research, executives predict that by 2020, nearly half of all revenue will be digitally-driven. This is not limited to retail and consumer goods: industrial components and machines are increasingly digitized as well.

If people come first, products, and profits will follow. Without adoption, personalization, and exceptional user experience, technology is just hardware. But with people, technology becomes more than the sum of its wires and circuits. Pat Gelsinger of VMWare puts it best: “We want to embed just a little bit of the IT manager directly into each piece of silicon we develop and ship into the marketplace.” This combination of people and technology allows users to develop even more innovative ideas that will allow an organization to grow and evolve. By leading change, the CIO—the People’s Champion—can safeguard an organization’s future.

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