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Will CIO Survival Depend on Disruptive Innovation?

How do established companies deal with the influx of new competitors? Almost all such companies are experiencing disruption, and 40% say that the disruption is severe. David Weldon for FierceCIO showcases a study from business performance innovation networks in which CIOs like BPI’s Executive Director Donovan Neale-May offer insights into this war of worlds.

Old Company in New Clothes

Of course the big winner in all of this disruption and competition is the customer. The hard news for veteran companies is that changing technology has given the newer startups a staggering advantage – to such an extent that the older brands might want to start behaving like startups themselves.

A Culture of Change

On the surface, it seems like technology is driving all the change, but look under the hood and you’ll find culture at work as well. The two are skipping hand-in-hand into the future, and the CIO is hard pressed to follow, says Neale-May:

“What we’re looking  at is how can businesses be more adept at anticipating, predicting and understanding where they might be disrupted or challenged by the new, more aggressive, younger, more robust upstarts – and how do they themselves start embracing practices for becoming far more competitive and far more agile,”

Yes “change” is the catch-word here, and reinvention is not an “if” but a “when.” Seventy-nine percent of the new disruptors are willing to take greater risks, 63% have greater ambitions than incumbents, and 54% are more flexible in terms of pursuing market opportunities.

Companies within Companies

The firm TechMahindra went so far as to dissolve its corporate structure into smaller more responsive parts. In fact, the innovative multinational makes funding available to employees to start their own businesses within the business itself. If efforts fail, they can be absorbed back into the corporate structure, snug and safe.

For the CIO, this all might seem incredibly overwhelming. But if all else fails, it’s important to remain in touch with one’s peers at the company, to keep the lines of communication open and to keep the ideas flowing in the face of disruption.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI’s Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master’s degree in communications at Penn State University.

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