For the modern IT executive, digital transformation represents an ongoing opportunity in the enterprise. Information technology is the new center of innovation in the digital age, with data capital becoming a focal point for growth. Because of this shift, the CIO’s role has evolved, positioning them as a leader in transformation efforts, and a default innovator for large organizations working to remain nimble and relevant as the industry evolves.
In recent events, leading IT executives and thought leaders shared insights on what this transformation means and how CIOs and senior IT leadership can adapt to their shifting roles. Here are five of the emerging trends we’re seeing discussed.
Data as Capital
At the recent CIO Leadership Forum in Chicago, Paul Sonderegger emphasized the role of data in today’s global marketplace. At the same time, he highlighted the challenges many organizations are having in defining the value of that data, and their lack of strategy for data collection and analysis.
"Data is not just a record of what happened … it is a necessary input in producing new digital goods and services," Sonderegger emphasized. It is this point that IT and finance executives need to keep top of mind. As an input for creating new goods and services, data serves the primary role of capital.
But no organization would be as unprepared to leverage physical, intellectual, or human capital the way many do data. To address this shortfall, organizations must invest in and deploy new data collection and analysis technologies and tools. The faster and more precisely these organizations can tap into the innate value of data, the greater value it holds.
Addressing Shadow IT
A common roadblock for IT modernization in the enterprise is shadow IT, the use of unauthorized applications on employee-operated phones and tablets. Rarely documented, these actions can result in company exposure to malware, ransomware and other cyber threats. The majority of cyber-attacks are socially engineered or through personal app use, making this a major area of focus for large organizations.
In another recent event, Eric Tan, Vice President at Coupa described how his company tackled this problem, thus far eliminating 16 of 137 apps from employee-operated devices. One tactic he’s used successfully is consolidation of communications apps, implementing Zoom with a 90% adoption rate across the workforce. By reducing the number of apps being used, Tan was able to decrease technical debt and reassign resources to supporting sales and marketing to increase efficiency, clean out old date and improve response time to sales inquiries.
There are several potential benefits of removing unnecessary apps from the shadow IT ecosystem in an organization, from an increase in available IT resources to a decrease in risk exposure – making it an important area of focus in digital transformation for IT executives.
Data-Driven Approaches to Recruitment
One of the common themes around digital transformation is the ability to impact every corner of the enterprise. HR is a sector that can benefit as much as or more than many others due to its reliance on human capital.
Specifically, day-to-day, recurring work tasks that can be automated offer an opportunity to reduce expenses and improve efficiency. Bianca Rehmer recently presented on how machine learning and automation are augmenting and streamlining the talent acquisition and recruitment process for Indeed, without leaving the human element behind. There are several areas she cited that can benefit from machine systems:
- Data-based job descriptions based on keyword data
- Use of structured and unstructured data to automate description creation
- Testing job candidate skills and traits
At the same time, Rehmer was careful to emphasize the importance of the human element. "There is a lot of technology out there to test job candidates' traits and skills, but it is not always foolproof," Rehmer indicated. "Sometimes, machines are wrong, and they may bake in human bias."
She recommends finding the right balance of humans and machines to optimize the time, resources and data at the disposal of the organization. Machines “can’t tell us why, and oftentimes, you need humans to help work in this grey area.”
It’s here that organizations have the opportunity to truly transform through technology. How an organization implements technology can deeply impact its operations for the foreseeable future. It can also help it stay ahead of its rivals, enabling data-driven decision making when hiring new employees and developing new offerings.
The CIO’s Role in Digital Transformation
Whether leveraging data capital to make smarter decisions, reducing technical debt by addressing shadow IT, or supporting implementation of machine learning and AI systems alongside human operators, the CIO’s role in digital transformation is front and center. To be a change agent that guides your organization into the future, it’s vital that you stay at the leading edge of new technologies and best practices.
Argyle Executive Forum holds events throughout the year to help CIOs and IT leaders in large organizations do just this. Our next event is being held on December 13 in Atlanta. Join us for a day of thought leadership, panel discussions and networking with thought leaders, colleagues and fellow IT leadership from top companies.