Most of the enterprises are becoming digitally mature and as this is happening, their participation is likely to increase in the ‘digital ecosystem’.
As defined by Gartner, digital ecosystem is an interdependent group of actors (enterprises, people, things) sharing standardized digital platforms to achieve a mutually beneficial purpose.
In its 2017 CIO Survey, Gartner has analyzed the responses of 2,598 CIOs from across 93 countries and all major industries to the digital age of the ecosystem and found that 79% of the survey’s top performers who outpaced 49% typical and 24% trailing performers, were participating in the digital ecosystem and finding value for their business.
For leading organizations, digital ecosystem adoption is a medium for more rapid innovation and greater productivity growth, as it gives them an increased access to a bigger market or more customers; delivers a superior citizen experience; provides greater scalability, parallel, multidimensional mutual value creation; open and API-based innovation and resiliency. A digital ecosystem is hence, a faster multidimensional network.
How top performing CIOs prepare their enterprises for digital ecosystem?
The 2017 CIO Agenda survey revealed that the top performers achieve digital escape velocity by embracing a three -tiered approach. They focused on three critical areas:
- Technology – Infrastructure characterized by agility, speed and interoperability.
- Open mindset – Embracing IT organizational culture with more external mindset.
- Leadership skills – Business leadership to be more focused on authority, interdependence.
5 Steps that CIOs should take to make their business digital ecosystem ready:
1. Make your technology interoperable
Combine your core and digital technologies to transit to ecosystem participation and enhance interoperability among your digital ecosystem partners.
As a CIO, if you wish to extend your technology core, then the top four areas where you should make your technology investments are:
- Business Intelligence/Analytics.
- Cloud services or solutions.
- Digitization and digital marketing.
2. Engage with startups in every possible way- create, buy and invest in these emerging technology hubs
As per Gartner 2017 CIO survey, top performers recognized that in house startups and their approach to digital business will help them plug directly into the digital ecosystem, as it will help them design digital products without any barriers like technical debt or corporate policies’ constraints. Moreover, these traits are difficult to be found outside.
So, a business should try and create an in-house startup, explore other emerging technologies, invest in them to gain access to innovation and new technologies and develop new digital solutions.
3. Build resilient organization by embracing a Bimodal approach to IT
The CIO Agenda survey found that 68% of top performers have embraced bimodal techniques versus 43% for typical performers and 17% for trailing performers.
An IT organization cannot turn into a digital startup overnight and cannot divest its business-critical responsibilities. Besides this, it needs to respond to many technological shifts, so CIOs of such organizations should adopt a bimodal IT- combine Mode 1 (traditional skills)and mode 2 (digital skills) to help an organization operate at a faster speed.
They should combine basic and specialist skills of both traditional (safety and accuracy) and digital startup (agility and speed). Bimodal approach will help CIOs innovate faster, align their business goals with IT, much closely, build better relationships with responsive businesses and focus on business value.
4. Go for business aligned leadership
As per the survey results, top performing CIOs focus on business growth and digitalization, prioritizing value over cost, and shifting IT investment from commodity IT to differentiating IT.
So, CIOs should focus on high level business initiatives to strive for effective stakeholder engagement for the success of their digital initiatives and focus on improving business value rather than optimizing and reducing IT costs.
5. Prepare your enterprise for ‘digital escape velocity’
Gartner recommends that CIOs should make digital ecosystem readiness, a priority in their 2017 planning.
So, CIOs should prepare their organization for digital ecosystem and reach digital escape velocity where they need to strive to escape the habits, biases, systems and cultural gravity of the organization to accomplish organizational goals. They should acknowledge that they wish to change, assess the risks and deploy strategic solutions to mitigate them.
Thus, with digitization gaining momentum, CIOs should be ready with their digital-ecosystem-readiness action plan – a crystal clear view of current leadership situation, a realistic plan to address it and selected few focused areas to move forward on them.