The outside-in model is fundamentally different from the problem solutions model. For most of the time, you are working on a blank canvas only the contours of which are defined.
There is no denying that the raison d'être of CIOs in an enterprise has to do with technology. While tech was, is and will remain the prime responsibility of CIOs, what they are expected to do with technology has changed drastically. What is driving the change is a change of technology’s role in business.
Earlier, a CIO was supposed to identify, buy, implement and maintain technology. He was not too concerned about understanding business needs except to the extent necessary to ‘roll out’ solutions. It has changed now to create solutions for business problems. In most cases, the business solution is fully defined for him by the business managers, which he is expected to translate to technology. But in some progressive organizations, he is expected to work with the business managers even figure out the business solution. That is because he only knows what is possible and ‘what more’ can be done while rolling the solution out. In effect, today’s CIO does understand business far more than his counterpart 15 years ago!
This role is changing further. As the world gets more tech savvy, businesses are turning to tech too for almost everything. The CEO and board are today far more convinced about technology. They want to build differentiation leveraging tech before their competition. Which means the CIO has to go out and look for emerging technologies, startups and best practices and come out with ideas on how a particular tech will create value for his business. The most used term in relation to emerging tech is ‘use case’. The phrase itself denotes a technology first approach. This outside-in model is fundamentally different from the problem solutions model. For most of the time, you are working on a blank canvas only the contours of which are defined.
How you apply technology, how you innovate, how you protect organizational information and intellectual asset and how you develop second line leadership are important considerations for today’s CIO.
That is why it is imperative to look beyond tech forecasts that anyway cover only 15-20% of your work. You have to work on a wider canvas. Our cover story is about that canvas.