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Digital Transformation Needs Strong CIO Alignment With C-Suite


Chief information officers (CIOs) are playing a crucial role in companies’ digital transformation efforts, including integrating vital new technologies into the workplace. But in an increasingly collaborative world, what matters the most is a close alignment between IT and the rest of C-Suite to make digital transformation a success.

A new study by Vymo and CIO Association of India shows that almost all IT leaders interviewed agree that a tight alignment between IT and the rest of C-Suite can lead to greater productivity, collaboration and growth. For example, over 50% respondents in the BFSI sector sees a very tight alignment in the roles, with IT playing a key role in executive management, another one-third sees CIO’s alignment with the C-suite in most business decisions and over 16% sees the roles getting increasingly more aligned.

Amarinder Singh, Chief Involvement Officer for CIO Association of India says that the global pandemic caused that forced employees to remote work almost overnight also threw up a lot of challenge in the C-suite. Challenges of team visibility and collaboration as well as those centered around information access and security, requires a relook at company’s IT strategy, bringing the CIO into the spotlight.

While cloud, AI and collaboration tools and platforms became an integral part of the new normal, along with the rise of DevOps and agile styles of work, the CIO’s role becomes more cross-functional where they are expected to team up with their peers to collaborate and innovate together to deliver new products and capabilities at an unprecedented pace, the report emphasizes.

Another research from Adobe also reveals that while digital transformation efforts in the last one-and-a-half years have put the spotlight on the CIO, prompting him to sit at the nexus of their company’s transformation and innovation efforts, an overwhelming majority of CIOs (95%) strongly agree that partnering with the CMO and others in the C-suite helps improve their organization’s customer and employee experience as well as productivity.

According to Nitin Singhal, Managing Director, Digital Experience, Adobe India, “With more teams directly involved in shaping the customer experience, CIOs need to regularly partner with their peers to take their digital experiences from concept to reality. Indeed, IT leaders that regularly collaborate with two or more C-level colleagues on customer experience management initiatives have seen an overall business success.”

It is not managing technology that is the hardest part but the transformation is, the study says, and CIOs are now seen as transformational leaders manage people, processes, data, and technology, as per a survey of more than 500 CIOs from IT firm Genpact and the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium that shows CIOs who were once technologists, are now co-creators of new business models.

Working more directly on digital transformation means a focus on cloud infrastructure, data analytics, and artificial intelligence, as CIOs learn from — and educate — other executives, and focus on hiring the right people, the study says.

Those CIOs who are leading the way are building new business models and embracing digital technology, and they are ready to support growth for the business. They innovate with cloud technology and prioritize AI/ML as part of their mission critical operations. In the process, they are collaborating and working hand-in-hand with their business counterparts and stakeholders to build the model for the future and transform the business.

The survey also shows that CIOs who report to the CEO, and meet with them regularly, are most successful at driving strategic change. CIOs that are part of the executive team are able to champion technology and advocate for how it will drive digital transformation and bring better business results.

For a successful digitization process, the C-Suite and IT teams need to work closely. A continuous effort to develop a collaborative C-suite can certainly help businesses prepare for the realities of the evolving business world.

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