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The transformational CIO: innovation is born at the crossroads of different worlds

Published by Maria Filipe
November 05, 2018 @ 3:41 AM

IT is in a very privileged position because people who work in the IT area have access to every aspect of an organisation’s operations. From their position they can clearly see procedures, operations and workflow. It is the perfect place to start, but to become real partners in digital transformation, first of all, many IT managers must better learn the business.

The transformational CIO understands exactly what the management board talks about, knows the company’s results, competitors, customer relations, market dynamics and he knows how technology can increase the company’s value.

Interdisciplinary success

We live in a fast-changing world and we constantly need to develop our skills. Experts in a single field are still needed, but they are not the ones who will play a key role in transformation. It is not enough even to have knowledge of your own business sector. Innovation often comes from observing other industries, noticing phenomena that work there, and have not yet been discovered in your industry. For example, a pharmaceutical company hired engineers from Formula 1 to help optimise the procedures related to drug formulations. There are many such stories of interdisciplinary successes. Traditional methods of e.g. simple optimisation by 2% no longer give you a competitive advantage. Instead, you must do something that breaks the patterns of the industry.

Most companies which successfully implemented digital transformation also have better analytics in the background. The best companies learned, above all, how to improve themselves by using digital technology, they listen to their clients more carefully and anticipate their needs. We live in the knowledge economy.

New organisational model

The traditional model of the organisation is changing - it will no longer be important in which building and in which country you work. Limitations related to the means of production are becoming less and less relevant. This can be seen even in conservative industries such as mining where nowadays managing of geographically dispersed business is much easier. There is a lot of hype around every new technological trend. It is easy to go in for new ideas and to forcibly try to implement them just because they are trendy. However, it is necessary to focus on what is important: measurable business value, the use of technology to analyse human and business needs. Digital transformation and optimisation methods, of course, exist, but digital business does not. Just as there is no digital state, a state is a community of people. Digitalisation itself is not a goal.

This article written by Leszek Maśniak, Chief Data Officer at Ministry of Digital Affairs in Poland, and published in the latest edition of our Magazine.

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