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Chief Information Officer to Chief Innovation Officer

IT cannot keep up with changing business needs if it continues on a traditional path

Published on
July 3, 2019

Technology is impacting every single part of the way we do business. The need to deliver products and services faster and at scale is greater than ever. As organisations look to digitise existing systems, processes and experiences, we are seeing four key problem areas:

  1. A missed opportunity to innovate when existing analog experiences are directly translated into digital experiences
  2. A lack of consideration of customer needs and outcomes in the system design
  3. Delivery teams getting bogged down without clear direction or vision for the system
  4. Systems not being adopted by internal teams

Digitising the current state does not always lead to better outcomes. Reflecting on the appropriateness of processes when shifting from analog to digital often exposes flaws that can be easily fixed. Understanding and anticipating the way users will engage with your technology will benefit your company and your customers now and into the future.

The changing role of the CIO

Today almost every conversation about process or experience improvement includes how technology can be leveraged in some way. Chief Information Officers must have an extensive understanding of the power of technology to deliver great business results. As CIOs and IT teams transition from passengers to pilots of innovation and shepherd their businesses through disruption, they must consider how the technology selected today will impact or enable their company to meet future business and customer needs.

We have observed that the defining characteristic of the successful 21st Century technologist is their ability to be a driver of change, adopting new techniques and disciplines to provide flexibility and adaptability. Considering societal, technological, environmental, economic and political factors is important to understanding how their technology can support their company in the digital age.

The role of design in technology

Times are changing. Understanding customer behaviours and attitudes is a prerequisite for any front end product. However, when it comes to back end systems, this logic seems to be forgotten. For large system implementations, rarely are the needs of internal and external stakeholders seriously considered, or the appropriateness of processes properly evaluated. Reframing business cases as customer or user problems rather than business problems will open a new line of questioning and create requirements that go beyond the functional norm.

In summary

Technology can do almost anything you want. Deciding what not to include is as important as defining what needs to be there. The mantra of “prioritising outcome over output” will become a key tenet of technology programs of the future. Too long have system implementations been built for business needs without considering user needs. Designing with the right inputs means the systems delivered will align with the way people do things now and stay flexible for what they may need to do in the future. Applying design thinking helps ensure we don’t see the age old issue of ‘new system, same old problems’.

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