Applying real life to the key findings of CSC’s Global CIO Survey 2014-15

Those attending the CSC ASPIRE conference had the opportunity to preview IT suite trending as reported in CSC’s latest CIO Global CIO Survey 2014-15 done in partnership with global research firm IDC.

Not surprisingly, the study confirms the rapidity with which many new technologies and services have appeared and evolved since last year’s survey. However it paradoxically also reconfirms that the enterprise’s perception of the IT suite’s ability to keep pace with digital innovation and disruption is far from flattering.

This mapped with a recurring mantra throughout the conference from CSC’s CMO, Gary Stockman that “almost 50% of organizations reported that they had missed a business opportunity because IT was too slow.” The “land of slow and no” was also a major finding in my CSC Leading Edge Forum research report entitled Growing Out of the Socially Awkward Phase: Leveraging the Co-Evolution of Marketing and IT.

While the nuances of any research instrument need to be considered, the finding that an average of only 28% of CIOs around the world view IT as having a collaborative partnership with the LOBs speaks volumes.

With 52% of CIO’s saddled with budget constraints on innovations and 38% having difficulty finding staff to drive innovation, one can easily see why digital innovation has become increasingly distributed across the enterprise as opposed to being driven from the office of the CIO. It is worth noting that 25% of CIOs openly admit that they lack the strategic vision to drive innovation.

So enough of the bad news.

What are 4 key factors that make CIO’s who successfully drive innovation across the enterprise different?

First, they overcompensate on “outside-in” thinking rather than eating their own home cooking. In my CIO consulting engagements I call this “feral leadership,” or the need to leave the comfort of HQ and return to the wilds of the marketplace. A feral approach enables technology leaders to base innovation on direct customer insight. Many are under the illusion that talking to field marketing and key account sales teams is feral, when in fact many of these organizations are inside-out thinkers as well.

Second, they are masters at developing innovation and co-creation “studios” that reside outside of the normal IT organization structure. These agile incubators heavily reward client involvement in innovation, and a fail-fast culture that is the complete antithesis of the “slow and no” stereotype that might actually be just a few cubicles from the studio.

Third, innovative CIOs have learned to play the “shadow game” better than their LOB counterparts. Some CIOs grouse about LOBs setting up shadow IT to compete with central IT services. However, the innovation-driven CIO embeds vertical business talent into the IT organization. One of the most popular is “shadow or embedded marketing” to establish street cred when driving marketing technology innovation in partnership with the CMO’s office.

Finally, and as a result of my previous suggestion on embedded marketing talent, the most successful CIOs have built a strong “Brand Called IT” within their firm. In many cases they have out-branded the branding experts to increase the propensity of being the 28% regarded as a collaborative partner with the LOBs.

We’ll be covering each of these factors in greater detail in upcoming CSC blogs.

What does your organization do to avoid digital innovation marginalization?

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