CXOs and CIOs: The twain shall never meet?

|March 21, 2015 0
In a mind-stirring revelation presented at C-Change, we find the big valley that still stands between the top room and IT cliffs

KOCHI, INDIA: How does it sound when someone tells you that even if most CIOs feel they are getting up to speed on the digital road, the CXO still finds it more of a hairpin turn? Turns out this invisible distance still exists between CXOs and CIOs, and more when the CXOs in question are CEOs.

In a deep-cutting cross section of the industry, Dr. Kapil Dev Singh, founder, Coeus Age has uncovered many such layers. He let CIOs have a good close-up look at this underlying tissue beneath the visible IT epidermis at a keynote for C-Change 2015 today. His talk on ‘Embarking upon a Digital Journey – How aligned are you?’ unearthed many surprising jolts.

When he surveyed 291 CXOs, zero per cent said, we lead on the digital front, and almost half felt that they lag digitally. Contrast this to another study undertaken with 116 CIOs in the same industry universe, and you see that 37 per cent opine they lead, and 13 per cent point that they lack somewhere. In the CXO study 22 per cent were confident of being neck-to-neck with what rivals are doing, but in the CIO study, the same figure for competitive parity was as high as 50 per cent.

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He wondered about the reasons that are digging this spasm further. Are CIOs not communicating well? Does the new scenario matter enough for CXOs? Is it just a perception handicap? Another interesting sub-text here is that the feeling of a lag is higher for CXOs and not for CHROs, CSOs, CFOs etc, who are perhaps more functionally-involved with IT. He gave many interesting insights, as he drilled deeper into the study and the current scenario. CIOs too had their own perceptions and experiences to share in this interesting discussion.

In a nutshell, he recommends that both at IT level and the top level, one needs to answer some key questions. Like: What is the organizational response for digital disruptors in an evolving marketplace? Are digital capabilities created and also exploited? What are the internal capabilities to do the same? As long as people can nurture and respond with the right capabilities, the journey is on a good gear to start on.

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