Introducing the Canadian Digital CIO

Recently the leaked NY Times Digital report defined this hot topic area, the ongoing trend of everything going Digital and how this is impacting the role of CIO.

Canada even has their own equivalent.

Not quite leaked and not as sensational but also the Ottawa Citizen showed off their new Digital strategy. This discusses how they are overhauling their business model for the new online era.

Our Digital CIO library section will now start to compile a section of more of these leadership examples, to showcase what CIO’s in Canada in particular are doing to pioneer their Digital strategies.

Digital Strategy

When discussing the Digital trend we don’t often hear about scenarios such as outsourcing email, even though that could mean a shift from internal IT to a Cloud provider like Google.

So moving to the Cloud or moving systems online in general, does not necessarily make it a relevant part of this conversation. Rather the key distinction is one that defines the nature of the opportunity for the CIO, the evolution of their role inherent to this trend.

In short it means a focus on strategic benefit to the organization, not operational management, an evolution from the ‘Data centre manager’ to instead be an executive at the board table who leads transformational change.

What we can see common to case studies such as Starbucks and their ‘Tweet a Coffee’ app, or providing loyal customers with ‘virtual shares’ in your flotation, are examples of technology being pioneered in new ways to better improve customer interactions, to grow sales and to establish innovative leadership in the field.

These sentiments are reflected by industry experts, and coincides with the evolution of the role of the CIO to become more strategic, closing the gap between business and IT that ZDNet describes here and that McKinsey explores here.

Harvard suggests the CIO could become the Chief Digital Officer to better lead the use of technology for strategic customer programs, and Cloud computing can be the platform needed for accelerating these types of initiatives.

Therefore we can first see that an evolutionary adoption of Cloud computing goes hand in hand with a journey for the CIO as well – From operational manager of a cost centre with poor value for money perceptions, through to a boardroom-level change agent who is directly driving new profit-making initiatives.

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