How digital is influencing changes in the CIO role

In order to be truly digital, CIOs have to treat technology as the core enabler in everything that business does, through multimodal technology leverage.


Ashok Kapoor Nov 18th 2016 A-A+

A couple of decades ago, since the time Information and Communication Technology (ICT) became a utility rather than a luxury especially in the enterprise space, the role of the CIO has also continued to evolve. This is because ICT evolved very rapidly. The year 2016 is no exception to this as we have been witnessing a strong shift towards everything digital. Today, when 10 of the top 20 companies are from the technology space, digitalization has become a key driver of business and has moved from being an innovative trend to a core competency. The way business leadership looks at technology has changed, and the pressure to emulate such successes is increasing on enterprises day by day.

Customer experience, business agility, operational responsiveness, and anytime-anywhere business are now driving businesses to change the core of their strategy and operations. Digital is causing a ripple that is forcing CIOs to undergo a transformation in their job description. This is being deemed as the most favourable time for the CIOs to align with business goals, as these major imperatives of business evolution are driven by technology. 

Changing business’s approach towards ITs

The role that IT plays in a business has come a long way from being a simple enabler to an application platform provider, to a bimodal approach that addresses both traditional and modern needs. However, CIOs also realize that it is difficult to treat reliability and agility as two separate tracks. In order to be truly digital, CIOs have to treat technology as the core enabler in everything that business does, through what we term as ‘Multimodal Technology Leverage’.

CIOs need to base their technology strategies for successful digital enterprise on – Innovation, Change Management, Governance, and Platformization. In this fast paced environment, organizations need systems and processes that support ongoing innovation and continuous improvement, while also incorporating change management mechanism. The governance of processes is now required to be stretched beyond from just including the internal organization but also to partners, resellers, customers as part of the ecosystem. IT leaders need to embrace the concept of Platformization – where platforms cohesively work within and externally to enable a multimodal connect for delivering digital enterprise.

Need of the Hour

Thus, the CIO needs to deliver mechanisms that would connect the various dots to form a coherent image of the business by leveraging technology multi-modally, and create a technological infrastructure that would enable them to truly deliver digital. The key to achieving such multi-modality lies in three imperatives.

  1. Elevating Orchestration - CIOs today need to establish such technological infrastructure that can deal with mix of structured and unstructured processes, and can elevate and decouple workflows from hardwired systems. The platform should enable modelling of processes that are not only efficient and compliant in day to day transactions but also offer the flexibility to quickly adjust to special circumstances. One way to achieve this is by building a business process platform that can lend modeling driven consistent treatment for structured processes, and case management driven flexibility and empowerment for unstructured processes.
  2. Contextualize Processes – An IT leader is now required to deliver technological infrastructure that can carry both content and context through processes, and enable access to relevant transactional content on-demand. In today’s digitally driven business environment, a robust enterprise content management system inherently optimised for mobile driven transactions is essential. Organizations with customer facing processes also need a process platform that integrates well with their enterprise content management as well as underlying systems. The capability to combine with externalised business rules management is also essential.
  3. Empower Knowledge Workers – What makes a digital business high performing is the power and flexibility delivered to Knowledge Workers. Thus, the CIOs must establish technological infrastructure that can provide ‘case-like’ flexibility in processes and drive contextually precise customer engagement. A Case Management framework along with a potent BPM can provide the knowledge workers with a platform to make corrections in misdirected processes. It enables them to make important decisions and follow up through the process. Organizations can also contextualise customer engagement by leveraging customer communication system built along with the customer centric processes, with the required intervention of knowledge workers.


One of the most dynamic roles in businesses today is that of a CIO. What started off as  a mere technical infrastructural development and maintenance role has today metamorphosed into that of a business strategizer. In order to truly leverage the potential that digital has to offer, CIOs need to take stock of the gap in their existing processes, introduce context in processes and optimize productivity of the knowledge workers. Today’s CIO has a task cut out to make it happen, or someone else will.

The author is VP-Marketing, Newgen software

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