Digital Transformation (DX): Prepare to lose your job…
…if you are a CIO. In this visceral, profit driven world we live in things can get ugly. Really ugly for those blissed with ignorance. For some of us there will be opportunities to be sure. Where do we start with this slash and grab? What about right at the top?
IDC takes great interest, and leads a very interesting discussion, on the subject of Digital Transformation. DX. IDC interest in the subject remains however a researched based effort and IDC do not really purport to be psychologists or therapists. Here, however we do not shy away from present realities, nor future ones really. So, prepare to lose your job if you are a CIO.
What you have to really understand very well is that your CEO has a laser focus on DX. Already. The simple reality is that if he doesn’t he will be out of job faster than you might imagine. He might not know that you call his next survival card ‘DX’, but if he read this article and think for a short while he will be in agreement in an exceptionally short timeframe. Or lose his job in the near future.
What on the created earth is this DX and what does it mean for me, you might ask by now! I will explain DX in a way that will explain the scary bits too.
IT in the past was a service, it helped, aided and abetted, almost like training and support staff to rugby players out on the paddock. Digital Transformation is when IT becomes nearly indistinguishable from the business. When understood well, DX will be like someone donning an exoskeleton, that make them faster and stronger and more difficult to tackle, and then joining a game of rugby where no-one else has the same equipment. Donning the exoskeleton will not make them better rugby players, but will render rugby players with similar innate skills than the wearer of the exoskeleton obsolete. Eventually. It is the nature of things that the players of the game rugby will soon adopt the new trend and get exoskeletons to remain competitive and relevant.
What you also have to understand well is that your CEO, the one that understands what DX means, will as part of his fight for survival have a laser focus on getting the right person in place to lead DX, if he isn’t doing it himself personally. And, that person will have to be a special creature indeed!
Call this individual a Chief Digital Officer (CDO – that is what Air New Zealand calls theirs, see this and this). Here’s the catch – the CDO will not be a glorified CIO! She will have to be in full possession, not mind, in partial possession, of that rare ingredient called business savvy. Anything less than full possession will not impress the CEO worth his salt enough. She will have to be a well-made mixture of undiluted entrepreneurial flair with some substantial IT savvy. Note the emphasis.
One may argue that it takes business insight to even become a CIO in today’s environment, and I would agree. What I’m saying however is that any role smacking of the characteristics of a CDO will have to be (or be able to become) a full business income innovator that can help the CEO put on that super suit for the business. She will have to help the business survive in the new reality, the new DX enhanced game. See, if either the business does not appreciate this dynamic or fail to implement this change it will fail, and jobs will be lost.
Only those who can make this transition in themselves, and then lead others through the change, can hope to survive for long enough to see them play a relevant game in the future.
As I said, the CDO leading DX will have to be a real piece of work. If you are a CIO, and you cannot do this thing, prepare for an uncertain professional future. If on the other hand you are able to, now that is an exciting prospect! 😀
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