Gone are the days when a CIO’s remit solely revolved around being the keeper of the infrastructure. Nowadays, CIOs need to wear many hats in order to stay relevant and valuable to their company. As the capabilities of IT become more entwined with other areas of the business, a lack of functionality can have catastrophic effects.
According to the Deloitte report The Risk Intelligent CIO: Becoming a Front-Line IT Leader in a Risky World, CIO focus must be multi-faceted in order to add lasting value to their organisation. Not only do they need to concern themselves with the mainframe operations, but they also need to:
- Ensure their teams are working with other departments to provide a superior level of customer service
- Ensure compliant, quick, reliable systems on lower budgets
- Be strategic in implementing projects that will help to future-proof the business
- Help to improve the efficiency across the business
According to the report they need to have a deep understanding of how to best ‘exploit technology to manage risk across the entire enterprise, not merely within the IT department.’ A great CIO needs to constantly juggle investing in a promising piece of emerging technology in order to keep a competitive advantage versus knowing what’s needed to future-proof the company.
A good example of how this nexus plays out is in the relatively new field of fintech, which is being hailed as much more than a mere buzzword. At CeBIT 2016, Danny Gilligan from Reinventure acknowledged that while Australia was still in the early phases of adoption, it is still moving at a very fast pace:
‘Currently we rank 5th in fintech ecosystems globally – a significant jump from 6 to 8 months ago when Australia wasn’t even on the map. There is now also a race between Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore to see who can be the biggest fintech ecosystem in the Asia-Pacific region.’
Given that great fintech has the potential to propel a business, it’s tempting to get on the band-wagon. However, this enthusiasm needs to be tempered with caution. As the Deloitte report warns:
‘In this new world, CIOs need to understand various types of risk: risk inside their IT operation; risks facing the broader organisation; risks in the use and deployment of technology; and strategic risk. Of these, the last is often the most neglected.’
So how can you make sure you are choosing the systems that will add long-term value to your business?
Be strategic in how you choose your technology
One of the classic mistakes businesses make is not understanding that technology projects are business projects.
Before you implement any piece of technology, you need to ask:
How does the technology you want to adopt fit in with what you are trying to achieve as a business?
As George Lymbers, CIO, Anglican Church and Sydney Diocesan Secretariat said to cio.com.au:
‘One of the biggest challenges of future-proofing is working out when to slow down, take stock of the organisation’s technology direction and redefine the strategy. The best time for an organisation like ours is at the point in the lifecycle of IT and business growth periods and subsequent contraction periods, using the time to rethink and rebuild.’
A good way of establishing whether a piece of fintech will work for your company is to assess how that particular technology will move your business forward. Ask questions like:
- What would the outcomes be for the company?
- How do you envisage the company using the technology?
- What are the negatives of implementing the technology?
- What are the consequences of not adopting it?
- What is needed from other departments in order to make adoption successful
Be customer focused
One of the crucial litmus tests for a piece of fintech is: How will it enhance the customer experience? Fintech is transforming the way customers bank and exchange money. The speed of online shopping means that customers expect their transactions to be speedy and above all, safe.
Therefore, customer relations, once the domain of the marketing and sales departments, are increasingly reliant on IT to ensure a smooth buying process.The days when Marketing and IT could happily ignore each other are over. Instead they need to work together to ensure that the implemented technology creates the most ideal customer experience possible.
Attract and nurture talent
There has been a lot of discussion on the importance of attracting and retaining great IT staff. Retaining talented, innovative people is one of the most valuable things you can do to mitigate risk. You want staff who have the vision to anticipate how fintech could transform your company’s processes, but also ones who will stick around, champion that project, and plan for the future.
Staff retention has many benefits for the business:
- They are more invested in the outcome of a successful adoption
- They understand the needs of their colleagues, and the needs of the business as a whole
- Company knowledge can be retained and handed down, which means that there is a greater understanding of whether a piece of technology is likely to be a good fit and why
- They can help to make a great case to the business as to why a piece of technology will be valuable
However the biggest benefit is that having a long-term insight into the business allows your team to think strategically about the technology will work in the business as a whole.
Having to juggle many hats can be very challenging for today’s CIO, but knowing how to best harness emerging new technologies can also be very exciting and very rewarding. We hope that we’ve given you some great tips on how to implement some risk management strategies when implementing new technology.
If you would like to know more about tech trends, then you should download our 2016 CeBIT Australia CIO Summary Report today.