CIO playbook: 10 tips for leading IT in the digital era

From navigating politics to jettisoning ROI, CIOs from Bharti Airtel, Land O'Lakes and the United Nations shared tips for IT leadership in disruptive times during a panel at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium.

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CIOs have never had greater opportunities to impact their businesses. With 81 percent of CEOs viewing technology as the biggest disruptive threat to their organizations, according to KPMG's new U.S. CEO Outlook 2018 report,  more IT leaders are getting leeway to invest in in strategic digital capabilities to reinvent their companies and disrupt competitors.

But disruption means different things for different CEOs, who must figure out what to add and subtract from their overall business strategy, KPMG says. "It’s not always an all-out transformation, but a focused introduction of technology that can create value and secure competitiveness,” explains Mike Nolan, KPMG vice chair of innovation and enterprise solutions.

But IT leaders who can't close the gap between their companies' capabilities and the emerging disruption are being rapidly replaced, a fact of which CIOs are well aware.

"[The digital gap] is getting filled but not by us," said Atefeh Riazi, chief information technology officer of the United Nations, alluding to the influx of chief digital officers emerging to spearhead digital strategies.

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