CIOs the new pioneers of change

In recent years, we have seen the lifecycle of technology move ever-faster while the timeframes we, in the technology industry, are given to respond are becoming ever-shorter.

The aviation industry runs at a similar pace.

There is no doubt it can be hard to keep up, and for Australian businesses, which are often risk-averse particularly when it comes to technology, we are in jeopardy of lagging behind the rest of the world if we don’t make it a priority to stay educated about changes and developments in the world of technology.

This is where the role of a company’s Chief Information Officer/Chief Technology Officers (CIO/CTO) is more vital than ever before.

CIOs, CTOs and their teams find themselves at the forefront of a new technological revolution and as pioneers of change and innovation, they are in a position to drive meaningful change within an organisation.

To stay ahead of the game, companies must be open to new technology and digital applications that can advance and enhance their strategies and be the advocate for this within the organisation.

The IT department can become trusted advisors and partners within a business, but should also become much more than a partner. They should become an integral part of the team and the business – in the same way that technology is an integral part of almost everything that we do – it has the potential to make or break a strategy and make the difference in competitive differentiation.

We live in a world where, out of necessity, all businesses have become tech businesses to some degree. Those who don’t see themselves as such are already at a disadvantage and, I would argue, have likely already fallen behind their competitors.

Companies which have technology teams, boards and leadership teams willing to embrace and experiment with emerging technologies are likely to make some mistakes along the way. However understanding risk, how to apply and communicate the impact of old technology, as much as emerging technology, can make a big difference to executive and board appetite for change and adoption. These companies are more likely to learn, improve and find themselves leading their fields.

The adoption of a culture of innovation around IT within a company offers opportunities to improve communication and flow across different departments within a large business and different staff within a smaller one.

The role of the CIO has evolved. Now the role can enable, help shape and lead the business strategy through an integrated technology function. To achieve this, IT leaders need to bridge technical skills, technologies and also be skilled in risk management, business engagement, and strategy. They should also cultivate a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. Technology doesn’t sit still and nor should the business or technology department.

Innovation is not just a team or a framework you put in place; it is a culture. And thankfully, more boards are starting to pay attention to the culture of innovation and this will help to pave the way forward.

Without those essential skills and a deep understanding of business risk management, boards and executives may not play with or adopt newer and emerging technologies which might provide that competitive edge, and that’s imperative.

In short, technology can be embraced and used as an integrating force for any business or it can be avoided as an inconvenience and left to become a barrier to success. What way will your company go?

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