The role of the CIO and the drive for reinvention

Digital transformation is happening everywhere. It has to happen for businesses to compete in today’s fast-paced and perpetually fluctuating world. For any digital transformation to be successful, it has to be supported at the top by the CIO.

The role of the CIO has changed radically and it continues to change. It’s now a role that demands evolution in order to survive and thrive. Like any adaptive enterprise, striving to be an edge company, the CIO should also be willing to actively reinvent themselves, their teams and their business processes to stay competitive. John Chambers, Executive Chairman of Cisco, says that around 40% of today’s companies will be gone in 10 years because they won’t evolve. That estimate should send shivers down the spine of any enterprise looking to secure its own future.

During our BoxWorks 2015 conference, we sat down with CIOs Jim Fowler (General Electric), John Herbert (20th Century Fox) and Cindy Elkins (Genentech) to talk about reinventing their businesses for the digital world. Here’s what we learned.

Embrace digital, but never forget the core business
Reinvention cannot happen unless you stay true to your core business. For General Electric, that means becoming the digital industrial of the future. When they established GE Digital, their mission statement was to be the best example of a digital industrial in the world. They’re staying true to GE’s roots while moving the enterprise forward for a new age.
Jim Fowler said: “Today, we make about $5bn in revenue from software. You’ve probably never thought of us as a software company before! And from now until 2020, we’ll move that from $5bn in revenue to $15bn. We are reinventing to become the digital industrial of the future.”

Use new digital technology to transform the way you operate…
Fox is one of the leading studios in content creation and distribution, dealing with over 70 markets around the world. Digital has revolutionised the film industry and John Herbert had to make sure Fox reinvented itself to stay competitive. That meant exploring and adopting digital ways to share their content with other markets and release it to consumers. In doing so, Fox has strengthened its position as one of the world’s top content producers.

…And gain competitive advantage in your industry
Scientific innovation at Genentech depends on discovering and utilising technology to further their research. For Cindy Elkins, using technology to digitally transform the business is the reason Genentech is a forerunner in the bio-tech industry. It was one of the first companies to adopt iPhones and iPads to transform their employees’ workstyles and they’ve used digital technology to innovate in some spectacular ways. They’ve also mapped the human genome and been able to distribute that content digitally – these are things that would have been impossible a few years ago. Embracing technology in this way has allowed them to transform themselves for the digital age and cemented their position as a $47 billion enterprise.
Our discussion with Jim, John, and Cindy showed us that today’s CIOs play a critical role in driving initiatives that are reimagining business to guarantee a strong future for their enterprise.

Watch the full BoxWorks CIO panel discussion to get their insights into the role of the CIO