CIOs drive business innovation by initiating breakthrough insights

By Mark Samuels

Executives in the digital age are expected to make great calls quickly. For an organization to create the most value from data, everyone in the business must have access to the information. CIOs are the key to ensuring all employees can use data to create greater and more powerful insight to drive business innovation.

The gap between expectations and reality

Senior stakeholders recognize the CIO is the business leader who can help the organization grapple with the complex demands of creativity and change. They understand that the many years of IT experience their CIO has makes them the best person to provide businesses with the capabilities to identify and exploit opportunities. However, many IT leaders are caught between attempting to meet these expectations and partaking in their traditional job duties.

Today, CIOs spend more of their time on operational concerns than driving groundbreaking innovation. According to IDG Research, 72 percent of CIOs struggle to balance business innovation and operational excellence. Industry experts have long indicated that CIOs need to increase focus on innovation, but operational needs remain an impediment. CIOs must initiate this change within their organization.

Fostering breakthrough innovation

A great CIO is the initiator of breakthrough innovation, helping the organization adopt an insight-led and iterative approach to management or developing new services and products. These CIOs ensure insights are always available to the right people at the right time because great ideas come from a better-informed employee base.

Organizations must create the opportunity for employees to share their ideas and provide value. Innovation-focused CIOs encourage a culture that allows everyone in the business to easily access insights and improve business outcomes. Whether it comes in the form of restructuring teams, incorporating DevOps methodologies, or using emerging technologies to add new levels of data and create new insights, experimentation and exploration become the standard ways of working in an insight-led company.

No other executive boasts such a strong understanding of the IT necessary for sharing and collaborating with data. No other executive understands how to bring the power of the cloud and data analytics together to create insight. And because of this, no other executive has such an opportunity to take the initiative around long-lasting, data-driven change.

Making technology work for the organization

To be successful, focus on the data that matters, regardless of where it resides. With Constellation Research reporting that 60 percent of mission-critical information will live outside the four walls of the enterprise by 2020, CIOs must take advantage of cloud-based platforms to manage the ever-growing range of data sources.

By embracing the multi-cloud world, CIOs can worry less about maintaining in-house hardware and focus on driving innovation. By using the cloud to deliver insights, IT leaders can provide tailored information to the lines of business and workers that need it most, helping the organization make timely and competitive decisions.

The challenge of staying competitive will only increase over time. Executives must respond creatively to this challenge — and CIOs must help everyone in their business to act on insights in a quick and agile manner.