Will India CIOs lose job because they are slow in digital transformation?

India CIOs and digital transformationForrester analysts Ashutosh Sharma and Bobby Cameron have explained why Indian CIOs are slow to embrace digital transformation, and what they need to do now in order to retain their job.

Forrester says Indian CIOs should take charge of digital transformation initiatives for their organization.

Forrester’s team of analysts Ashutosh Sharma, Bobby Cameron with Frederic Giron, Dane Anderson, Michael Barnes, Arnav Gupta, and Bill Nagel made these comments on CIOs after reviewing about 200 projects executed over the past year by CIOs at 94 Indian firms.

Indian CIOs are still delivering traditional IT capabilities.

But digital businesses require a different type of leadership, one that focuses on leveraging digital technologies to serve customers. Indian CIOs can use the insights in this research to identify habits they need to adopt and ones they need to change to become customer-obsessed digital leaders.

Most technology projects in India are still inside-out — focusing on delivering IT-centric outcomes rather than customer value.

Firms measure most technology projects with the traditional key performance indicators (KPIs) of cost reduction and efficiency improvement. CIOs need to establish a clear link between individual technology projects and the customer value they deliver.

The report said very few Indian technology leaders tie their initiatives to their firms’ larger digital vision.

Cisco in a recent blog post said digital transformation enables retailers to operate seamlessly with automated information communicated in real time – creating significant operational cost savings. For customers, convenient shopping is critical.

The emerging face of the insurance CIO is that of a digital strategist and transformational leader, while working at the execution level as a functional leader: managing process change, evaluating and deploying new digital technologies, and ensuring effective implementation, said a Cognizant report on digital transformation.

CIO role

Forrester report said CIOs need to assume the job of chief digital officer (CDO) urgently. Their job role is not limited to delivering IT services at the lowest price point or implementing IT solutions to automate business processes.

Digital leaders must enable the business to leverage digital technologies like big data, artificial intelligence, cloud, the internet of things, and automation to drive customer-specific outcomes.

Forrester said technology leaders must help their firms build a digital business platform — leveraging cloud, open source solutions, API-based architectures, and microservices as a foundation for creating new business models and delivering customer value.

Otherwise, Indian CIOs are at the risk of being replaced by digital leaders.

What they are doing?

Most of the CIOs have done their work in data center consolidation, network build-out, infrastructure transformation, ERP upgrades, disaster recovery, backup, and security. Their focus areas include business health, drive revenue, reduce costs, and improve customer experiences.

The IT projects lacked customer focus. This is especially concerning for tech leaders who think that their organization’s digital transformation is well underway. A lack of focus on customer priorities either suggests a misguided transformation effort or a very low maturity of digital technology adoption.

Indian IT projects did not have impact on improving IT systems, business agility, or customer agility.

An airline used its data center modernization to improve IT agility and a port infrastructure firm digitized its operations to boost business agility — indicate an early stage of digital maturity.

CIOs will also need to step outside their comfort zone and lead digital projects rather than continue doing IT projects.

Baburajan K

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