This year more than 300 CIOs are coming together outside London to discussion what it means to Re-imagine IT in a European context. A few weeks ago, CIOs in the Americas came together to work on these issues. Please follow this link to see the impressions from that event.
The IT industry is perhaps the most global in the world as CIOs manage global information and technology supply chains that extend not only from Corporate Headquarters to their field operations but also from their home country to service partners located around the world.
The global nature of IT is reflected in CIO strategies and plans, including this year’s CIO Survey. But it is still true that “if you have talked with one CIO you have talked with one CIO.”
The theme of this year’s leadership forum is Creative Destruction in recognition of the need for CIOs to be willing to create the capabilities they need by destroying parts of what they have now to free up the resources needed to deliver more value and strategic relevance.
Nowhere is the need for creative destruction greater than in Europe as CIOs report that their budgets are stable or shrinking, particularly in the European Public Sector. Economic realities mean that CIOs will have to change the way they change as they will not get the money you think you build to build new things while running current processes. Leaders have come to the realization that funding to build new often leads to adding complexity and destroying focus rather than creating a more effective IT organization.
CIOs will face a business demanding a BOTH AND strategy calling for Growth and Cost Control rather than one or the other. Executives are not being unreasonable in this demand because they face a unique situation:
Growth will come from outside of the companies home markets, either in adjacent markets or opening new geographies. By definition these markets represent growth opportunities that are enormous because the current market presence is small. That is what is driving the growth objective at many organizations where new and innovative IT intensive capabilities are needed.
Earnings will come from your core markets, where the bulk of your business is right now, but its business that is growing at a comparatively slow rates but generate tremendous cash flow. This is where the requirement to continue to cut cost comes from as efficiencies in existing markets are the only way to fund growth and generate shareholder value. That is what is driving requirements for continued vigilance on cost as the enterprise and IT level.
Fortunately for CIOs, new technologies, models and skills are coming into the picture that make creative destruction possible. While all the buzz is around cloud, solutions based on mobility, deeper forms of information analytics and new levels of digitization all offer the ability to create new things that replace and retire existing capabilities.
Creative destruction opens the door for CIOs to Re-imagine IT, to change a few fundamentals that lead to new views on IT and its strategic relevance in the organization.
Finding new answers to new questions — which is what the leaders will do
More than it requires
Finding new answers to OLD questions — which is what everyone else will do.
That is the leadership challenge that we look forward to working with CIOs at this year’s European Leadership Forum.