We see the pattern all the time. An innovation launches a trend. The trend coins a phrase. The phrase becomes a top-of-mind topic, prompting lively boardroom discussions. Generally, everyone agrees why the topic is important, but the practical aspects—the what and the how—sometimes lack clarity.  The increasingly urgent buzz around digital transformation fits the pattern.

This is a very good thing for CIOs.

There is strong consensus as to why digital business is an imperative. You no doubt have plenty of examples from your personal life as well as professional life. My recent transportation to the airport comes to mind – think Uber versus standard cabs. I hired a small, local company that I had used many times before when visiting out-of-town relatives. I  didn’t expect anything beyond the basics. Yet this time, the service featured a digital experience prior to the van’s arrival that was radically different from—and vastly better—than the routine of the past. Real-time updates. Two-way communication. On time arrivals. Expectations set and met. No surprises. Even a driver with a sense of humor who joked about his “wrong turn that I probably saw!”

The digital business buzz reflects reality not hype. Profound changes are coursing through organizations and entire industries. Whether by way of your Amazon shopping or my hired car experience, it’s clear that the manner in which an organization addresses the what and how of digital transformation could determine whether it will live to see the buzzwords of 2020.

CIO’s Golden Opportunity

This presents CIOs with a golden opportunity to become the key enablers, arbiters, and architects of digital transformation.

The CIO has the ideal perspective and firsthand knowledge to make a business case for transformation. This position is uniquely equipped to guide a group of business leaders and technology experts that can lead the organization down the path toward digital business. The 2016 Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey observed that CIOs are evolving into “transformational business leaders, technology strategists and business model innovators.” They are excelling by using their knowledge and skills in new, creative, imaginative ways.

This evolution entails the CIO collaborating closely with line-of-business (LoB) leaders seeking to change their business processes to generate improved—or entirely new—business outcomes. The key is to establish a digital-ready infrastructure that enables digital business innovation. The first step is to cultivate a single conversation between business and IT, establishing clear points where the priorities of business and IT converge.

Six Key Considerations

I encourage you to review Cisco’s new e-book, CIO-Driven Transformation, that helps CIOs consider the what and the how of digital transformation. Ideal for time-pressed CIOs, the eBook covers:

  • What digital transformation actually is—and what it means for business
  • Why digital transformation presents an important opportunity for CIOs
  • How to start—and continue—a successful digital transformation journey

The “how” discussion delves into six key considerations that underpin successful digital transformation in virtually any organization.

  1. Facilitate new business models.
  2. Simplify everything; deliver IT as a service.
  3. Build modular IT and automate.
  4. Deliver data that informs business decisions.
  5. Adopt continuous delivery.
  6. Embed security everywhere.

Download the e-book “CIO-Driven Transformation” to spark your thinking. Your golden opportunity awaits.


Nada MacKinney

Marketing Mgr, Digital Transformation

Enterprise Solutions Marketing