Why CIOs Should Have A Startup-Like Approach

by Swaminathan B    May 11, 2016


With Digitization taking the center stage in the enterprise, the role of the CIO is also witnessing a huge shift. In such scenario, the CIO should have a start-up approach for its digitization strategies. This is according to a recent research based on a survey conducted by EY and CIO Klub.

The report was released N Chandrashekharan, Nasscom, in the presence of Nitin Bhatt, EY-India and  Radhakrishna Pillai, CIO, SRL.

The report states that the CIOs of the country can benefit from partnerships with start-ups and by imbibing the attitude of start-up entrepreneurs. The survey, which is designed to capture key IT priorities and initiatives taken by organizations across various sectors, provided some meaningful insights in to the changing outlook of the Chief Information Officers.

About a half of the 294 CIOs have shown faith in implementing start-up practices to get their work done. This was supplemented by the fact that 30% of the respondents were aligned towards the Do It For Me (DIFM) approach, wherein the company would want to bring in external expertise to perform certain specific tasks, rather than doing it in-house.

Partnering with start-ups ensures that work is done in an agile and innovative manner. This can save cost, help adopt the latest in technology and become a disruptive force in the industry. However, the report claims that to be more effective, CIOs should promote these values in their own firms. The only way to adapt to change is to take the risk of adopting it. By implementing start-up practices, CIOs can ensure that their projects are driven to closure quickly, operational expenditure (OPEX) is governed well and the product is effectively managed by the company after using a combinative approach.

“CIOs have seldom been challenged for implementing an established Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), but they have almost always been questioned when they recommend engaging with start-ups to acquire specialized expertise. However, this is rapidly changing. We are now seeing CIOs being questioned by their executive leadership when they do not leverage the start-up ecosystem for enhancing product capability, reducing cost, and furthering competitive advantage.”, says Nitin Bhatt, National Leader, Risk Advisory Practice, EY India.

Certain aspects of the IT roadmap are becoming clearer. For example, 81% of the respondents state that the most promising futuristic technology that will gain momentum in the next five years would be Internet-of- Things (IoT). While IoT is still considered to be a technology of the future, the market is already swarming with companies offering products fuelled by the IoT ecosystem. However, technology comes with its own associated risks. Cyber security continues to be important and remains a board-level agenda for a second year in a row. More than one-fourth of the respondents stated that cyber threat is the “one” issue that gives CIOs sleepless nights.

At present only 50% of the CIOs are open to working with start-ups while the other half is still sceptical, the study says but this will change with time. 

Eight out of 10 CIOs think IoT is the most imminent technology. Other trending technologies are High Speed data transfer, wearable technologies and 3D printing. Cyber threat continues to top the list of key issues that give a CIO sleepless nights. The study also notes, while half the companies have in-house analytics functions, the other half believes that there is greater value in engaging with outside, specialized talent.