IT transformation efforts driving new 'start-up' mentality
By David Weldon
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — IT leaders charged with leading their organizations through digital transformation would be wise to act and react like a start-up.
That is the advice coming from a variety of corners, as more CIOs are learning to think like a startup tech director; are jumping ship for startup employers; or find themselves in the midst of start-up partnerships or acquisitions at traditional firms.
The reason for the new start-up mentality is simple: digital transformation requires organizations that are agile and innovative. Start-ups are much better positioned to be both.
That was certainly the message at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium last week, which FierceCIO attended. Indeed, urgency is becoming the number one marching order for IT departments, Christopher Perretta, CIO at State Street in Boston noted at the event. Despite everything that is already on the technologist's plate, "We need to go faster."
Digital disruption is not a fad or buzz word, Jennifer S. Banner, CEO at Schaad Companies LLC said. It has the full attention of corporate boards, who believe their firms are now "under siege" by all the changes going on with technology and emerging business models.
The result is that the CIO is being thrust into perhaps their most important role ever. Banner said the CIO is now the "field general" needed to strategically lead the organization and staff against this onslaught. Success depends on the ability to react quickly to dramatic market changes and customer needs.
That can be a touch challenge for some organizations, however, especially large firms with well-established traditions. For some, such as Coca-Cola, the answer lies in start-ups as partners.
According to an article at CIO, one way to satisfy the need for speed is for CIO to think of themselves as innovation venture capitalists. Coca-Cola does this by aggressively seeking out innovation at other firms, and this often means start-ups. The CIO is expected to be front-and-center in this search effort, staying well-informed on what other players in the market and industry are doing.
Former Barclays CIO Anthony Watson knows that start-ups are a gold mine to search for innovation and creativity. He left the UK retailer to take a job at the Bitcoin banking service Bitreserve last month as COO and president, noted CIO UK. Watson said he was lured by the firm's creative and agile approach to creating business process and address customer needs.
"It is actually very liberating working for a startup versus a big, fat and flabby company that is all about bureaucracy," Watson said. "You get to define the processes to be effective and efficient from the start."
- For more: - check out the symposium coverage at FierceCIO - check out the article at CIO - check out the article at CIO UK
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