Mapping the C-Suite's Digital Future

CIO’s Publisher Adam Dennison nominates the CIO as the best 'pathfinder' to help C-suite execs move confidently toward digital business, and provides a link to the CIO Executive Council’s new digital readiness survey.

We all know that business is becoming increasingly digital. We've seen it play out in retail with Blockbuster losing to Netflix, Barnes and Noble crushed by Amazon, Black Friday giving way to Cyber Monday. As CIO's publisher, I witness the ebb and flow of the digital revolution in technology media every day.

I was impressed by the way venture capitalist and former Wall Street analyst Mary Meeker broke down of the digitization of business last May in her report "Internet Trends 2013." She discussed what she describes as the re-imagination of older technologies, using some compelling examples to show how photography, video, sound and data are being reworked for digital formats. When was the last time you bought a roll of film or walked up to a bank teller?

Yet while digital disruption and business model changes are everywhere, we're still in the early stages of this transformation. Many businesses have yet to figure out how this digital shift will affect them and technologies that actually run the business.

So who is best equipped to lead digital change and transformation within an enterprise? My colleagues at the CIO Executive Council (a global peer association for IT leaders and sister company of CIO magazine) have been exploring that question. After in-depth interviews with CEOs, CIOs and other C-suite leaders, the Council has created a framework for collaborative executive leadership in the digital environment. The C-suite, by adapting to the digital age, evolves into the D-suite.

According to the Council's research, the most likely "pathfinder"--the person who connects and enables senior business leaders to collaborate on a digital future--is the CIO. I think that's absolutely on target. CIOs are already on the front lines dealing with digital disruption, exponential data growth and IT consumerization.

You already manage corporate risk and cybersecurity issues. You are partnering with CMOs to improve the customer experience. IT's "helicopter view" delivers a big-picture understanding of the people, processes and technologies that actually run the business.

I'd love to hear what you think about the C-suite evolving into the D-suite. You can learn more about the Council's framework (and see the results of a C-suite readiness survey) at council.cio.com/ds uite. Are you ready to help your business find the right path to digital dominance?

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