by Shahida Sweeney

‘Digital dragon’ disrupts CIO agenda

Nov 20, 20143 mins
Big DataCloud ComputingEducation Industry

Australia and New Zealand’s digital narrative is moving from the sidelines to centre stage. Digital disruption will impact all levels of government, finance, manufacturing, retail or education, says analyst Gartner.

The ANZ component was part of a comprehensive global CIO survey that canvassed 2810 CIOs representing more than US$397 billion in IT budgets. This survey spanned 84 countries with a closer look at spending patterns into the New Year.

“Digitalisation is no longer a sideshow — it has moved to center stage and is changing the whole game,” according to a report, Flipping to Digital Leadership: The 2015 CIO Agenda. This report notes that CIOs have a unique opportunity to embrace and deliver on digital leadership.

Among the trends, more than 90 per cent of A/NZ technology heads agree that digital will be a “game changer.” This involves moving from a legacy-first to a digital-first mindset. The investments-of-choice leverage the personalisation of IT including smart phones, mobile devices and integration with internet channels.

Digital disruption across the enterprise

According to Professor Michael Rosemann, head of the Queensland University of Technology’s Information Systems School, digital transformation cuts across all levels of business, government or higher education.

He told CIO that in a digital economy, competition can come from unexpected sources. This is marked by digital disruption pioneered by companies like Uber in shared transport, AirBnB in accommodation or EBay for online retail.

“The focus is to develop a digital mind,” he said. “This involves building and leveraging digital communities, understanding consumer behaviour, or building on social media analytics.

“The boundaries are blurring between the digital and physical world,” Rosemann said. “A digital mind is influenced by growing digital literacy and technology-agnostic thinking patterns.”

The key traits of a digital mind include understanding and levering digital signals emanating from mobiles devices and channels.

A digital mind is quick to build on the digital capital, manage assets and open up access to different channels. The future lies in building on digital assets and exploring new ways of business.

Command and control is old school

A “control-first leadership” led by a CIO at the top does not suit an innovative or uncertain digital terrain, according to Gartner’s Vice President and Executive Partner, Graham Waller.

Walker told a Gartner Gold Coast Symposium in Brisbane this week that a risk-averse, control-oriented culture will devour even the most well-informed business strategy “like a small snack.”

To avoid this fate, CIOs need to deliver on digital leadership. “Businesses need to get excited about where digitisation will take them,” Walker said.

Digital Darwinism drives the agenda

More broadly, an emerging theory of “digital Darwinism” means that enterprises need to adapt to new ways of doing business and delivering services to tech-savvy consumers.

The nexus between mobile, social, cloud and information is a key driver across the enterprise. New digital tools are coming down the line much faster than companies’ preparedness.

These include newer ways of connecting with consumers using mobile apps, or planning for robotics, ‘smart machines’ or 3D printing.

According to Gartner’s 2015 projections for the A/NZ market, business intelligence and analytics top the list of technology priorities. This is followed by investments in cloud and mobile platforms. Other investments include infrastructure and data centres, unified communications, modernising legacy infrastructure and managing security.

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