CIOs new role: Business leader; Revenue generator
The days of CIOs being strictly technologists are long over. They are no longer expected to merely keep the “lights on.” Saving costs and improving productivity is no longer sufficient to get a strategic advantage; generating revenue and offering innovative solutions to the business do.
CIOs know alignment with the business is vital, but as IT emerges as a center of innovation and digital transformation within enterprises, it’s time for smart CIOs need to be taking charge of revenue generation.
In the digital era of big data, mobile, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), the role of today’s CIO is to enable the business, innovate and focus on new technology strategies to help better engage customers and drive revenue. While revenue generation may not be explicitly stated in the job description for CIOs, IT departments are increasingly being looked at to focus more on projects that create revenue for the business.
A survey report from Harvey Nash and KPMG found that more than half of CEOs want their CIOs to prioritise on areas that can create revenue and less on saving money. Of the 3,352 CIOs and tech leaders surveyed, 63 percent said that increasing revenue was the priority, while only 37 percent said saving money was most important.
Take for instance, Sayed Peerzade, Chief Information Officer, Reliance Big Entertainment & Reliance Entertainment – Digital, who leveraged the digital stack and internal expertise to create a new business model to drive revenues. It launched WorldwideOpen, a digital agency for the entire ADA Group and plans to branch off this entity as a separate P&L unit.
Spending on digital technologies comprising social, mobility, cloud and analytics (SMAC), machine to machine (M2M) and IoT has clearly prompted companies to encourage more dialogue and collaboration between various business units and technology functions. The fact that CIOs are expected to innovate actually helps them nurture new ideas much more easily.
Many CIOs today are getting a seat at the executive table, and for them balancing the service provider role versus the revenue generator will prove to be quite challenging. However, they need to be mentally attuned to the changes in mindset and also require the necessary leadership to participate in both the roles.
From being a cost-center in the past, to an enabler; IT departments are now an intrinsic part of the business. Moving ahead more and more organsations will need look at IT to increase the top line. The CIO is uniquely positioned to play a major part in the overall success (and profitability) of their organisation. Ambitious technology leaders will continuously search for opportunities to improve their companies through the implementation of digital technology.