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CIO Leaders: Choose IT Innovation or IT Maintenance

Many of today's CIOs feel like they're under siege by demanding Line of Business (LoB) leaders that seek a change in the IT organization status-quo. At least one industry analyst believes that today's IT organizations are divided. So, stop and think about it. Can one person lead two different agendas and be successful?

International Data Corporation (IDC) believes there are those that thrive by effectively leveraging digital technologies, new business models, and entrepreneurial cultures (they're in the minority). Then, there's everyone else that is typically consumed by technical debt, obsolete business processes, and the lack of a meaningful and substantive vision for the future of business technology.

To help CIOs and IT executives successfully lead their organizations through accelerating digital transformation, IDC unveiled their Worldwide CIO Agenda 2017 Predictions.

According to the IDC assessment, these predictions describe the ten most important shifts that will happen over the next 36 months, and the goals for senior executives to form a credible three-year strategic IT plan.

Worldwide CIO Agenda 2017 predictions:

  • By 2019, 40 percent of IT projects will create new digital services and revenue streams that monetize data.
  • By 2018, 65 percent of IT organizations will create new customer-facing and ecosystem-facing services to meet the business DX needs.
  • Lack of vision, credibility, or ability to influence will keep 40 percent of CIOs from attaining leadership roles in enterprise DX by 2017.
  • By 2019, 75 percent of CIOs will recognize the limitations of traditional IT and embrace a leadership approach that embodies a virtuous cycle of innovation (Leading in 3D).
  • 40 percent of CIOs will advance DX initiatives by building organizational linkages with line of business (LOB) technology teams and across IT organizational silos, empowering changes in thinking, culture, and practices by 2018.
  • By 2019, 80 percent of bi-modal IT organizations will accumulate a crippling technical debt resulting in spiraling complexity, costs, and lost credibility.
  • 45 percent of CIOs will shift primary focus from physical to digital and move away from BPM and optimization by 2018 to deliver scale, predictability, and speed.
  • By 2018, 45 percent of CIOs will focus on platformization, using DevOps for rapid development, cost reduction, and enterprise agility.
  • By 2019, 70 percent of IT organizations will shift their culture to a startup-like work environment by embracing Agile practices and open source communities.
  • By 2017, 80 percent of CIOs will help drive global risk portfolios that enable adaptive responses to security, compliance, business, or catastrophic threats.

"The message is clear -- CIOs have to find a way to reinvent their IT organizations; otherwise, they risk dragging down their businesses or getting replaced by service providers that can accomplish what they can't," said Joe Pucciarelli, group vice president at IDC.  "In the new digital economy, CIOs must manage by Leading in 3D: forging an IT organization that can simultaneously innovate, integrate, and incorporate."

What's not clear is how many current CIOs can successfully perform the IT Innovation objective while concurrently managing the IT Maintenance objective. Some savvy CEOs already think it's an unreal expectation, these mythical dual-skilled CIOs are few and far between. That's why they're assigning the digital transformation agenda to another person in the C-suite -- the CTO, CDO, or whatever you want to call them.

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