As people now move on from wondering about the value of IT, the way clears for the question that everyone has been implicitly asking all along. That question, and its answer, radically enhances the CIO's role as a corporate strategist and leader of change.
The debates and concerns about the value of IT, that have occupied many people for so long, are on the wane. People are reaching a point where they've decided on an answer, or that the question no longer matters like it used to. Thank goodness. It has long disguised the underlying cause: the ability of the company culture to create value from investing in change (whether that involves IT or not).
I spent a day recently collaborating with the CIO of a global company, formulating the next generation of strategy for him to lead. At the beginning of the day, neither us knew quite what that strategy would be. By the end of the day we did.
We documented it on one side of paper, using the "Promise, Principles, Tactics" format that I described in "Let the Business Drive IT Strategy". Nowhere does it mention IT or technology. It's all about the company's next few years of investing in change, during which they are likely to make radical innovations in their business model.
They don't yet know what all those radical innovations are going to be, or indeed the preferred scenario for the resulting business model. The CIO's strategy is about making sure that - whatever the chosen business model and innovations - the company will create maximum value from investing in change, and as efficiently as possible. The CIO is part of the team shaping the business model scenarios, and the CEO will soon decide on the preferred scenario.
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