2010 CIO 100 Awards: Beyond IT Value, Creating Lasting Innovation for Business Growth

The 2010 CIO 100 winners move beyond IT value, using technology to build new revenue streams, engage customers and speed decision making for lasting business growth.

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Fri, July 16, 2010

CIO — This year’s CIO 100 Award-winning projects reflect how the CIO is evolving into a strategic executive who pushes his or her organization to seek out new ways to engage customers. But rather than representing fleeting “Eureka!” moments, these projects are enabling sustainable innovation. Methods of discovery and new-product development are repeatable and the lessons companies learn from them inform future initiatives.

As the judges and CIO editors evaluated more than 300 entrants to choose these winners, we identified companies that used technology to address needs customers didn’t know they had. For example, Healthways (HWAY), which runs health and wellness programs, is using social gaming applications to get individuals to take better care of themselves, reducing their employers’ healthcare costs in the process. PNC Financial Services Group (PNC) built mobile banking applications that incorporate text messaging to attract new college-age customers. Taser International now offers software and services to law-enforcement agencies that use its namesake stun gun and other products.

We also found innovation that aids business decision making—essential to achieving corporate goals. Global food and facilities-management provider Sodexo and the nonprofit Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation found creative ways to deliver data to business leaders, improving their effectiveness at maximizing revenue and serving customers. Procter & Gamble’s virtual product-development labs—which include life-size electronic screens showing mock-ups of store shelves stocked with virtual product prototypes—have let the company design and test more new consumer packaged goods in less time.

It’s clear that a new outlook is emerging from the economic strife of the past three years—one that emphasizes continuing transformation using IT. There is no other option, says Filippo Passerini, president of Global Business Services and CIO at P&G. As he puts it, “We consider ourselves the business transformation organization for our company. This is what our CEO expects.”

IT Is the Product

Perhaps what most feeds a CEO’s expectations for IT is the fact that technology is now so often the basic ingredient of strategic new products and services. This year’s winners embedded IT in new business initiatives.

Last year, the $16.2 billion PNC decided to pursue the college-student market. The company created three new products, each designed to address the main quality young adults say they want from a bank: simplicity. A Web portal lets students manage tuition reimbursements, loans and scholarship money. A program that links student ID cards to bank accounts allows students to swipe a single card for financial transactions on and off campus. And a set of services dubbed Virtual Wallet Student offers tools for managing money online and by mobile phone.

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