Cisco Blogs

From Information to Innovation: The New CIO in an Internet of Everything World

November 5, 2013 - 2 Comments

In my role at Cisco, I have taken interest in understanding how we, as people, are driving the need for innovative technology to fuel change in our world. As we find new ways to interact as consumers or communicators, we demand that technology keep pace – to be fast and to adapt.  

Today’s Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are well aware of Internet of Everything (IoE) and are already thinking about how connected their unconnected people, processes and things can help them gain efficiencies as well as a competitive edge. Massive shifts in technology and consumption models brought about by cloud, security, mobility and programmable networks are accelerating new markets and new business models. These new models are transforming communication and massively disrupting the role of IT.

Broker of Change

A successful CIO must now be a broker for change, constantly evolving to keep pace with an IoE world. They must line up the right people, processes, and things, and understand the foundation required to be able adapt and adjust quickly. Getting in front of IoE and understanding the technologies that are accelerating its path will help CIOs transform from information officers to innovation officers.

As CIOs focus on innovation, it’s clear that navigating this increasingly complex technology landscape requires more than isolated systems – more than business-as-usual. Where information lives, and how it’s accessed, is changing dramatically. Technology users demand more, and can do more on their own. Today, it’s critical to assess how platforms and trends integrate and converge.

By understanding that the decisions we make today shape the future of IT, CIOs can usher in a new model for IT, based on rapid new service deployment, compelling customer experiences and secure mobility access.

Here’s a look at a few simple ways CIOs can become brokers of innovation:

  • Determine where your business is today with regard to IoE. With the huge number of connections that need to be made among people, data, and things, companies must assess their strengths and weaknesses in the areas of technology skills, business process management, data analytics, connectedness, and security.
  • Understand the role of IT in enabling your company to benefit from IoE. Using IT to reduce costs has diminishing returns; investing in IT to strengthen and grow the customer base has greater upside potential.
  • Take steps now to maximize your firm’s capabilities in the areas of security and privacy. Robust security capabilities (both logical and physical) and privacy policies are critical enablers of the Internet of Everything Economy. There is over $14.4 trillion of potential economic value at stake for global private-sector businesses over the next decade. This growth could be inhibited if technology-driven security capabilities are not combined with policies and processes designed to protect the privacy of both company and customer information.
  • Be the driver in the connection between business strategies and technology. The CIO needs to advocate that business strategies need to be merged with IT strategies and network architecture. When companies take this approach, they can better realize the benefits of the IoE economy.

It’s clear that these types of decisions must be made from the top. The CIO or IT leader who embraces these dynamic changes will separate their business from the competition and thrive with growth opportunities.

How do you as an IT leader keep focused on opportunities in the midst of change that is happening at an ever rapid pace?

Do you think CIOs are well positioned to be the innovation nerve center?

Tell us what you think via comment below or join the conversation on Twitter, #IoE.


In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.


  1. Lance, you asked “Do you think CIOs are well positioned to be the innovation nerve center?”

    I believe that a CIO’s effectiveness will vary, greatly, depending on their own individual ability to break free from legacy thinking.

    Like most traditional business leaders in large organizations, legacy CIOs equate their power and influence to be directly tied to the budget and headcount that they control.

    In contrast, I believe that true innovation comes from a deep understanding of business related challenges and opportunities — within the global networked economy — budget nor headcount are key factors in the process.

    Moreover, I also believe that progressive thinking — and the desired outcome-centric business advantages — will emanate from those fearless people that choose to experiment with business model changes that are outside of the norm.

    These advancements are unlikely to “come from the top” — since most of those people at the senior executive I know can’t easily move beyond their own personal vested interests to retain their legacy power and control.

    Therefore, I believe that meaningful and substantive innovation leadership will come from those few people that follow their passion. They refuse to be constrained by the institutionalized mediocrity that is pervasive in so many large companies today.

    One only has to look at the low level of employee engagement in American multinational companies [see the Gallup market study results] to realize that most CEOs have a better chance of being struck by lightening that finding someone bold enough in their organization — that’s both willing and able– to become a true IoE innovator.

    Those are my candid thoughts. This is the reality. No, in answer to your question, CIOs are not at all well positioned.

    • Excellent comments David. Your points are spot on. Sounds like it is time for many CIO’s to reinvent their approach and relationship with key business stakeholders. Value is everything and we in IT tend to talk in technology terms rather than in business value.