Seventhman Blog

  1. Chief Innovation Officer: The New CIO

    "chief innovation officer"Chief Innovation Officer… you probably haven’t heard of this new job title.  You might be wondering if this is just another hype as companies desperately search for the ultimate alchemist that will bring about change, for the better.  The business realm is under a major transformation and stakeholders are taking a qualitative approach this 2014.  For this reason, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) no longer holds a limited function as technology-enabled innovation proliferate in the enterprise.  There is a need for new leadership in the corporate world as the C-suite struggles to find balance and sustain growth for their products and services in a dynamic, competitive market.

    Should You Hire a Chief Innovation officer?

    Call them the new ‘CIO’ or ‘CINO’ – this new breed of consultants are catalysts of change who have developed a well-rounded set of technical expertise, business cunning, excellent leadership and people skills all-rolled-into-one.  They are not merely growth hackers predicting the path to business success, but they are also stewards mentoring every business unit to make sure that the plan is implemented accordingly.  If you’re asking whether you should hire a CIO for your organization or not, you must be asking yourself how to find one instead.  The ability to continuously improve and innovate faster has never been easy.  Finding someone who can deliver impact to your business is like searching for the rarest of gems. You’ll need all the luck!

    Innovation’s Best-Kept Secrets

    Think of your Chief Innovation Officer as the final block to complete the 3D puzzle.  Just type the word ‘innovation’ on search engines and you’ll see lots of resources on ways to innovate.  Sometimes, you have to look beyond the usual way of things if you really want real change.  Thanks to technology, hiring someone outside your own comfort zone adds diversity to the organization.  Bringing in people from different culture and experiences may just open your mind to what you’ve been missing in the way you do business with your customers.  As Steve Jobs said, ‘Put a Dent in the Universe’.. and that may literally translate to having someone who may be the exact polar opposite of people working in your office.  Radical? Yes. Sometimes, you have to rock the boat a little, shift the balance of power to get from points A to B – faster.

    What Questions You Should Be Asking Instead

    As I mentioned from my last post that this year will be exciting as hybrid talents are on the rise, as the key decision maker, you should ask:

    •    How can I gain a sustained competitive advantage in a saturated market?
    •    Who can I trust to implement a successful innovation strategy from ground-level..up?
    •    Who are insatiably passionate about what they do and are willing to push the limits to explore new ideas?
    •    Who can collaborate with different departments and act as an ambassador of idea generation?
    •    Who can successfully pilot your innovation road map to align with your business goals?
    •    Who is realistic enough to allow room for growth while minimizing risks that come with failure?

    Probably by now, you have the answer to this question which can only be summed up by a talented CINO.  The business world is facing major changes and the only way to become a game changer is to be as creative, as fearless and as realistic.  You’ve got to be unconventional this time or you may simply bring in someone who will relentlessly focus on how to grow your business for the long run.

    “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” – Buckminster Fuller

     

     

  2. Can IT and Business Bury the Hatchet?

    "IT Friction"Can we all just get along?  Sometimes, you can’t help asking this question where it concerns the IT department and the rest of the business.  Whether it’s an issue of mistrust, communication or mindboggling bugs – business owners are simply lost as to how to deal with the issue.  This gap is a major money drain that adds to loss in productivity in the workplace.  When things get awry, end users of technology used in the company hate calling their help desk.  In fact, that’s the last thing they want to do.  Does it have something to do with the IT stereotype, of introverted technophiles working in secret?  Is it a culture clash that makes charismatic business leaders steer clear of IT?  Whatever the answer is, there’s only one truth here: There is a huge gap.

    Going Back to Where It All Started

    Last May, I shared with you my insights on the three inconvenient truths about IT and business. Let’s dig in deeper this time.  No matter how modern a company’s business is, how well-supported it is with new technologies and trends like the  BYOD (bring-your-own-device) movement, the expectations between IT and business is a major mismatch contributing to the friction that’s getting bigger each day. According to a study made by Forrester (commissioned by BMC) in December 2012 – there are significant gaps in customer experience.  Business users of all types are  solving things on their own or getting it elsewhere, even when they reached out to IT for help.  We all know that user satisfaction is important in business.  The thing is that even when IT asks for ways to improve with their surveys, little to no action is done to make things work.

    Inspiring a Culture of Change

    Do you think that the old system is to blame?  In the beginning, businesses were totally dependent on IT no matter how limited the technology is.  Then came the internet and tools on how to make things faster at a lower cost.  Business leaders are simply taking things on their own because their needs weren’t met when they started working with IT.  Not all users have the same demands and expectations so understanding the culture of each user is a must.  Gone were the days when the service desk is just a point of contact.  They have to be trained to excel in customer service.  If the IT management will be more accountable on each solution they provide, they may even automate certain processes within the business to help regain loss in productivity.  Everybody wins then…

    IT Problems Don’t Have to Cost Your Business Big Bucks

    The real trouble kicks in when you’re dealing with numbers.  Let’s say company X employs thousands.  Majority of their requests go to the help desk – whether they are working at the office, semi-mobile or 100% mobile.  When users can’t work because of IT issues, they lose valuable time.  Frustrations can pile up.  While automation has helped counter this,  together with implementing user-friendly support (tutorials, remote help, live chats, blogs, forums) – only through proactive and timely communication will the gap heal in time.  Having a Plan B when things go wrong can help too, so long as there is a real commitment to continuously improve existing technologies and system with one end in mind: Positive Impact to Business.

    How can you innovate IT? Start with common sense, like keeping things simple.  It can go a long way, would you agree?

     

     

     

  3. The Greatest Challenge a CIO Has to Face

    "cio"For quite some time, I have been pondering about the current talent shortage that many businesses are complaining about.  Is it really a lack of people who fit skill-wise.. or personality-wise?  For the same reason, CIOs should spend more time thinking about human resources so they can bridge the gap between innovation and strategic initiative. When there is a need to manage people to perform their best and increase opportunities in corporate profitability, perhaps it’s high time that the CIO and HR executive work head-to-head over a cup of coffee.. and brew a plan that will advance the company’s business goals to create results, for real.

    The Paradox: Integrating IT with Business

    Thanks to the rise in cloud applications, CIOs are taking a more strategic role in the business side of things, rather than simply sit back in the tech department.  Sooner, every CIO will be equipped with ways to merge IT and business so s/he can make plans that will drive revenue, solve customer pain points and fix persistent business issues.  While the HR has  a treasure cove of data about workers lying dormant in the system, the CIO has the analytic skills to unearth value out of these data.  To deal with managing talents, having a scientific approach will turn businesses into game changers.  The CIO may just find the crucial piece that connects value creation and innovation.  But the real challenge is how to make everyone think that IT is not a separate entity from the entire business.  This time, we have to shift the focus on IT tasks to relationships.  Simply put – just because you’re not writing codes don’t mean you are not adding value on the table.

    With High Risks Come High Rewards

    Maybe I’m asking too much.. but CIOs who are adopting mobility these days are also the ones who are facing high rewards – with greater risks.  Those who embraced the idea of telecommuting are seeing better results, with happier employees as a plus.  While it’s totally fine to be cautious about mobility, being resistant to change is not.  If you take longer than the rest to moving things forward, you will be left behind in the race.  With the recent reports on China’s cyber-espionage, the outsourcing industry hit another dent where data security is concerned.  Still, adopting mobility in the workplace is on the rise to meet end-user demand.  How can we do a better job for our talents and make sure we attract new ones?  This is the question everyone in business has been asking lately to make sure they increase speed, agility and productivity – while improving their brand value, customer loyalty and competitive advantage.

    The Quest for Continuous Improvement Begins

    Where do CIOs go from here?  The only way to improve is to actively measure what works and what doesn’t.  The issue is not much about identifying problems, but the quality of new solutions being run.  At some point, you have to check if your KPI (key performance indicator) is up-to-date.  Data on job candidates alone are not enough to identify the key element to their success.  You have to anticipate their needs so you can plan programs that will improve their job satisfaction and keep attrition rate closer to nil.  Money alone is not a great motivator so you may have to revamp what will have a greater impact on your bottom line – then, draft incentive structures based on what exactly makes them perform best.  You can’t take the back seat this time hoping that things will improve soon.

    If you want to have a clue about what’s happening – you have to be in the game.  This is the ONLY way.  It’s high time to match your IT portfolio with your business strategy.  The Good News?  It’s achievable.