I read an interesting article about the role of the IT organization in enterprise innovation, written by a former colleague of mine, Charles Babcock. The story, "IT Must Play a Central Role in Enterprise Innovation," spoke to many of the key challenges that both CIOs and their IT teams face in their efforts to help drive (not just support) innovation within their companies.
The story, which was based on reactions to the issue from a panel of CIOs and other industry experts at Interop 2011 in Las Vegas this week, included a quote from Nationwide Financial Services CIO Emeritus Bruce Barnes which to me captured the essence of the biggest challenge facing the potential innovative-ness of CIOs themselves: time and bandwidth.
CIOs are more business-savvy than ever. They don't have a choice. After all these years of struggling to align IT with the business and striving to meet the needs of business leaders and business unit employees, successful IT leaders find themselves working alongside their business peers, including fellow C-level executives.
Of course, I would be remiss not to mention that a growing number of CIOs have transitioned over from business roles in the last several years. Still, whether you're business leader-turned-CIO or a CIO who grew from within the IT organization, it's critical for IT leaders to find a way to stay on top of the latest technology trends, particularly as consumer electronics continue to invade the workplace and spread their influence.
If you've ever worked for a company that's acquired one or more companies or has been acquired by another firm, you've probably been witness to some deals that have generated a decent amount of value and others that didn't work out so well.
Now, McKinsey & Company has released the results of a study where they examined patterns of deal sizes and the frequency of deals among the world's top 1,000 companies by market capitalization as measured by excess total returns to shareholders. According to the authors of the study, "it seems not to matter much whether companies completed one large deal, many small deals, or few deals." From a value-creation perspective, the size and number of deals matter less than the discipline that's applied to them, including how they're priced, integrated, and managed.
Many IT and business leaders are keen on driving innovations that can help their organizations generate new revenue streams, increase market share or improve organizational efficiencies. But being able to do so on a continuous basis requires companies to create an environment that encourages and cultivates innovation across different levels.
Of course, this is easier said than done. According to a 2010 study conducted by Ernst & Young, while 82 percent of the 263 entrepreneurs who were surveyed believe that the ability to innovate is vital to the future growth of their organizations, nearly half of those polled say that creating innovative ideas becomes harder to achieve as their companies grow in size and complexity.
In a recent interview with CIO UK, Facebook CIO Tim Campos discusses the company's strategy for moving as much of its IT operations as possible into the cloud. In fact, roughly 70 percent of Facebook's internal IT activities are now managed and operated in cloud-based environments, according to the article. The types of applications and activities that Facebook currently does not operate out of the cloud are things like business intelligence because, as Campos sees it, "the technology is just not there yet."
Customer experience is high on the priority list for many IT leaders. As I noted in a blog I posted last month, 82 percent of 100 CIOs and CTOs from companies with 500 to 10,000 employees that were recently surveyed by Yankee Group place customer experience as their top strategic priority this year.
As the economy continues to improve and companies look grow their businesses by adding new customers and retaining existing customers, it's important for CIOs, CTOs, and other executives to develop a stronger understanding and appreciation for delivering on multichannel customer experiences.