Every industry is being transformed and disrupted by digital technology. As the traditional custodians of an enterprise’s digital technology chief information officers are in the firing line. They are often the first to feel the impact of those disruptions; they are expected to take leadership of digital transformation; they are under new pressures and their roles are changing rapidly.
CIOs in the telco industry are in a unique position: by their very nature telcos are among the first companies to feel the impact of digital disruption and they are major facilitators of digital disruption and transformation in almost every other industry.
Therefore, their experiences of and insights into digital transformation and disruption should be of value to their colleagues in most other industries, and global telecoms vendor Ericsson is bringing those experiences and insights to the wider CIO community.
In mid 2015 it commissioned research firm IDC to interview 47 CIOs and other high-level IT executives at communications service providers. It is publishing the findings in a five part series of reports The Transformative CIO: The Power and Challenges of Change. The titles of the individual parts are: The Transformative CIO; What the Job is Today; Transformation, Nonstop; Skillsets at a Virtual Crossroad; and OSS/BSS Minus the ‘O’ and ‘B’.
The later volumes become more telco industry specific, but the first is applicable to all industries. It says: “The majority of IDC’s general conclusions relate to two interrelated issues that are changing the face of the telecom industry: the customer and the technology. Customer expectations of total mobility, ever-faster connectivity, personalised services and perfect, instantaneous delivery seem to be growing as quickly as their data usage.
“At the same time, the pace of change is unprecedented – cloud, M2M communications [machine-to-machine: think Internet of Things], the rapidly evolving world of devices and apps – and operators are being pushed to come to grips with the complexity of these changes all at once. Expectations and technology feed each other, creating the need for faster innovation and time to market, improved network infrastructure, new approaches to management and support software, and substantial changes in the ways various areas of the organisation work together.”
The report then goes on to identify two types of organisation: the cautious, and the assertive. In cautious organisations, “CIOs and CMOs are more likely to be at odds over the mechanisms by which to transform into a digital enterprise – technologies, processes and go-to-market decisions.”
CIOs are “forced to look forward and future-proof systems, juggling innovation and operational excellence to find a workable balance. CMOs, on the other hand, “have a sense of urgency that requires quick action to take advantage of market opportunities and fulfil customers’ expectations.”
The result of this competitive state is IT finding itself saying ‘No’ and ‘Wait’ to Marketing requests time and again, sometimes to the detriment of customer expectations and experience.
Assertive organisations are embracing horizontal software solutions, cloud ecosystems, analytics, industry vertical expertise and security and controls more quickly to achieve change. They are “achieving measurable performance improvement across the processes and systems that drive the business.”
IT executives from these organisations often benefit from having fewer legacy systems, processes and attitudes with which they must contend, and therefore have greater freedom to implement more IT solutions, faster than their usually larger cautious counterparts.
Which side are you on?
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