The new alliance of powers in economics, technology and society (ETS) is turning the world upside down. Organisations, sectors and even entire nations are influenced from the bottom up due to the democratisation of media and technology. The pyramids of old are making way for more organic forms of interaction. Economic models do not work any longer, as they are based on a (simplified) reality that no longer exists. What the effects of the disruptive forces will be is anybody’s guess.
The question is no longer why organisations have to change or transform, for this is obvious in the field of forces dominated by ‘digital, data and disruption’. What has to happen is also clear. All that matters now is how. What needs to be achieved is flexibility, scalability, self-organisation, and operating in ecosystems. Leaders have to stretch their roles, as technology is everywhere. CIOs are moving towards business and management, in which technology is a means to enhance efficiency no longer but a way to tap into new products, services and target groups.
It takes guts and daring to break through the existing frameworks. We may have to get rid of thinking in terms of mission, vision and strategy, and perhaps the road maps of the future are mere dots on the horizon. No hard and fast plans and objectives, therefore, but a course or development path. Maybe an overall approach, so not a project spreadsheet of small standalone activities, but rather a holistic view on change: culturally, organisationally, business-wise, operationally, technologically, and also in terms of leadership, of course.
The real value and disruption are in the combination of various big, technology-driven challenges. Examples can be found in the fields of economics (changing models), HR (talent, health, skills and robotisation), the consumer (fickle, demanding and all-decisive), organisation (new operational models and working methods), mobility (communication, interaction), utilities (the underbelly of society) and health (the most important of aspects). For the time being, all challenges are marked by scarcity, however hard this is in itself. But what if we find ourselves with a surplus, as announced by several experts? Everything will be different, no doubt about that, and the pressure for change is mounting.
What matters is not what happens or why. The main requirement is that managers and organisations know how they can deal with it. Successful companies no longer seem to have huge, revolutionary programmes in mind; with agility they cautiously move in the intended direction. In the process, precursors are looking for the common denominator within a range of challenges. They do this cross-functionally, so on the basis of interaction on a broad scale. From this perspective, any solutions are part of a widely supported whole. This may well lead to a new jostle for possibilities at C level, as positions change, disappear or merge, and new roles emerge. Perhaps, the CIO’s best days are yet to come.
The question is how we are going to take care of this. You might find the answer at CIODAY 2017. We look forward to welcoming you as a visitor!