This week at a small gathering of leading edge CIOs, a participant from the insurance industry made a striking comment when he talked about employing someone who came from the lottery industry. He said “Insurance and lotteries are very similar – one sells fear, the other sells dreams”.
This made me think about what the CIO and IT organization are selling, especially in the light of a trend noted in some recent research I have led on the growth of the “Chief Digital Officer” (CDO) role. You could argue that CIOs are traditionally selling fear, CDOs are selling dreams.
Whilst CIOs needs to be realistic and make sure of business integrity, risk management and budget management, they also need to recognize that in an increasingly digital world, information and technology don’t just automate and protect the business, they are also a key part of its growth, its future, its dreams. And dreams require different branding, different communication, different relationships.
Perhaps this is a question for CIOs and other IT leaders to ponder on – Am I selling fear or selling dreams? Do I have the right balance?