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Can Strategic CIOs Create a Renaissance Revolution?

If you are one of those naysayers who think the title of this blog is not relevant to how CIOs leverage information technology and influence today’s boardroom strategies, you are wrong. Just talk to CIOs Rob Carter (FedEx), Debra Martucci (Synopsys), Randy Spratt (McKesson), or Filippo Passerini (P&G). You will realize that these strategic CIOs are creating a renaissance revolution by using information and technology in innovative ways to create new competitive value.

Renaissance is the French word for rebirth. It was a period when art, history, medicine, and other disciplines reinvented themselves through questioning, learning, and applying new thinking. One of the most famous “Renaissance men” was Leonardo Da Vinci. He was a painter, a scientist, a musician, and a philosopher and was clever at applying these disciplines in new and creative ways. Today, CIOs are creating a renaissance revolution in how they influence corporate strategy.

I had the opportunity to interview over 150 CIOs, IT / business executives, and academic thought leaders, for my book, The Strategic CIO: Changing the Dynamics of the Business Enterprise, to learn how CIOs leverage information and technology for competitive advantage. What I found was insightful. Strategic CIOs traverse a common four-phase process to transform their IT organizations into a strategic asset that enables IT and business unit personnel to collaborate in new and innovative ways to achieve significant business outcomes.

Let’s return to the four CIOs mentioned earlier and see how each applied the strategic IT organization transformation phases to improve the competitive position of their company using information-centric strategies.

1. Deliver Commodity and Business Services Exceptionally Well.

Rob Carter, CIO at FedEx, recognized an opportunity to improve the customer corridors that comprise the set of processes used by business units to create customer value. His strategy to compete collectively, manage collaboratively, and operate independently dramatically improved the ability for FedEx business units to work together and provide improved value to customers.

2. Understand the Business, Focus on User Experiences, and Improve Business Skills of IT Personnel.

Debra Martucci, CIO at Synopsys, hired MBA’s to work with IT vice presidents, directors and key personnel to accomplish three objectives. First, to understand how the Synopsys business fits into the competitive marketplace. Second to help IT personnel understand where customer value is created across the Synopsys value chain. Third, to help IT personnel enhance their business skills to more effectively work in business teams.

3. Implement Initiatives to Improve Margin (Sales/Cost)

Randy Spratt, CIO and CTO at McKesson, improved the integration process of newly acquired companies because, the faster we integrate, the sooner we will derive the economic benefit.

4. Leverage Technologies to Innovate Value.

Filippo Passerini, group president, global business services and CIO at P&G is passionate about creating information democracy across the various business units. His digitize, visualize, and simulate strategy changed the business model and helped managers make well-informed business decisions.

There is no doubt that there is a renaissance revolution occurring in the C-suite today and CIOs are leading the charge. Strategic CIOs change the dynamics of the business enterprise by leveraging information and technology in new and innovative ways to create customer value, improve margins, and enhance shareholder wealth…a winning outcome for any business enterprise.

In future articles you will read more about how strategic CIOs use the four-phase transformation process to create competitive value in future articles. In the meantime, do you know any renaissance CIOs and how they are leveraging information and technology for competitive advantage? If so, I’d love to hear from you. I look forward to your comments on this and future articles on how IT and business executives are Transforming IT for Business Success.

This article was originally featured at CIO.com.

About Phil Weinzimer

Author and president of Strategere Consulting working with clients to develop business and IT strategies that focus on achieving business outcomes.

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