Forrester: How CIOs must lead the digital revolution

Aligning to the business will not save IT departments and CIOs must become leaders in the digital revolution, says analyst Forrester

Aligning to the business will not save IT departments and CIOs must become leaders in the new digital revolution according to analyst Forrester.

During the opening keynotes at Forrester's CIO Summit in Paris, the analyst company presented the argument of why traditionally organised IT is no longer sufficient to support the business.

Forrester CEO George Colony warned delegates: “There are many people now who want to disrupt your business. It does not cost much to disrupt business.”

Business leaders are becoming more IT-savvy, according to Colony: “The average age of the CEO in the top 100 companies is 59. They went to college before computers. Most of the CEOs did not use computers. 

"But today, we are seeing CEOs who had Apple II home computers or IBM PCs at school.”

CEOs are now looking at technology to innovate. Recent research from IBM found technology is now the number one factor for CEOs.

Colony warned that company structure will prevent businesses from generating more ideas with greater speed. He said companies need to build a total experience, as Apple has done. 

Rather than engineer products, Colony said IT should understand how people use technology.

Taking this argument further, Peter Hinssen, entrepreneur and author of The New Normal, discussed the need for IT to reinvent itself. 

“The days of IT being built to last, are over. Full flexibility is here,” said Hinssen.

For the past 25 years IT has talked about technology, but Hinssen believes IT must stop talking about the technology and start talking about the use technology. 

Hinssen said IT should stop trying to align with the business, as this only leads to IT departments acting like a butler to serve the business.

Instead, Hinssen said IT should tackle the issue of information overload. 

He said: “Information is the new currency. Very soon, LinkedIn will know more about your company than your internal HR team.” 

Hinssen pointed out how Nike, with its Nike+ running shoes, was becoming an information company, with the information it collects on where people run and where they stop. 

Its Nike Fuelband collects information on heart rate, body temperature and physical activity.

According to Hinssen, the problem is that there is way too much information in companies. 

“We have focused on information as a capacity problem, The biggest challenge is how you become better filters of information,” said Hinssen. 

"We must focus on information as a filter.”

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