In talking about how market changes will transform the CIO by 2030, Gartner Vice President of Research Heather Colella said, “Everything is about to change and everything IT does today will be transformed.”
Colella then illustrated how in 2030 urban life will be very different than it is today by showing a typical city scene graphic. City trains that run downtown will be driven by an automated system rather than a human conductor, driverless taxis will pick up a passenger who tweets about needing a taxi, and not only will a car’s navigation system be able to calculate and choose the best route but the driver will receive notification alerting them that a parking lot near their destination has just discounted their hourly parking rate.
It was a quick sample, but the implications are clear. Technology is going to continue to transform the way we live our daily lives. To deliver this level of disruptive change and technology will mean that “pretty much everything will have shifted from an automated business to an algorithmic business,” said Colella at the recent Midsize Enterprise Summit Fall held in Austin.
This means linear ways of working will move to nonlinear ways of working and that companies and industries with definable boundaries today will fluidly cross boundaries to create new companies and industries tomorrow. It also indicates that established formulas that are applied equally today across all opportunities will eventually switch to new sources of value from multiple sources, including machines. When it comes to dedicated full-time employees, Gartner points to a future where individual experts will look for what they call ‘tribes’ instead.
Colella proceeded to show several slides that explained the 2030 algorithmic formula in more detail, but a key takeaway for CIOs is to realize they are going to have to think differently and will have to adapt to the coming changes and disruptive advancements in technology if they are to succeed.
Colella encouraged the MES attendees to begin thinking now about ways technology can transform their organization’s business today and in the near future. After brainstorming, Colella said IT leaders will need to manage an ongoing dialogue and test ideas with senior management. She suggested this could start by asking management some questions such as “what would happen if we tried X to reach more consumers or to generate more sales…?” In that case, Colella said to listen to the responses an idea receives and to see what seems to be of most interest to management, and then to go back to your IT teams to see if there is a way technology can help achieve that vision or business goal.
Colella’s point was essentially this: tomorrow’s CIO is going to have to be more dynamic and transformative than the role demands or expects today in order to help businesses be successful.
Of course, changing technology will require support and funding from management, so Colella encouraged the MES attendees to become more effective story tellers to convince management to fund their projects. A challenge to this today is that Gartner research indicates that only 35 percent of the C-suite appreciates IT’s contribution to business success.
“IT is so embedded in everything a company does, it sometimes is not fully appreciated and may be taken for granted,” said Colella. “Crafting an effective story about IT’s contribution to the organization can help show your team’s important role to the organization’s overall business success.”
Since Gartner research indicates that 40 percent of CIOs today report into the CFO, Colella advised the MES attendees in that reporting structure to make sure their story addresses how IT optimizes every dollar it receives. Gartner research shows that CEOs, meanwhile, are more focused on how to grow the business, so Colella advised those CIOs reporting to the CEO to be sure they address how IT contributes to the company’s business success and meeting key business objectives.
Colella showed the audience a variety of one-page reports that illustrate different ways to effectively tell a story to management. She acknowledge there is no one right way to present information, but stressed it is important to spend the time to work on this. Colella advised the audio to ask “what does success look like from the executive team’s perspective?” and to use that lens to create a compelling story that will resonate with management.
Janice Cain, MBA, is an award-winning marketing consultant and PR advisor who has been working extensively in the IT industry for more than 10 years with some of the world’s best known software and hardware companies. Follow her @1010_Marketing