Enterprise hits and misses - CIOs take the digital plunge, but digital transformation needs buy-in

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed March 15, 2019
This week - CIOs get serious about digital, but questions about the ROI of digital transformation persist. Plus: the open source powder keg and "everything" as a service. Blockchains need some blocksplaining. Your whiffs include privacy meltdowns.

Cheerful Chubby Man

Lead story - CIOs making the digital plunge - use cases by Phil Wainewright and Mark Chillingworth

MyPOV: Today's CIOs must do more with less budget - and also somehow drive change. Phil profiles two CIOs who are shaking things up in How to get more out of the IT budget - learnings from Amadeus and JLT. One tactic that works for Amadeus? Cost transparency. Phil writes:

Transparency into costs is helping the business work with IT to accommodate goals for growth out of savings that can be made elsewhere in the IT budget, as Cuadrado of Amadeus explains:

I believe we should be talking about business metrics, not about IT metrics … then we can talk with the business about expectations of more funding. If certain people insist on growing at 34%, we would say, OK, we cannot afford this growth, we cannot absorb it — let’s talk about how we can fund these extra services.

Mark hits on similar themes in Addison Lee Group CIO - Focus on experience, not buzzwords. Talking to the team at Addison Lee, Mark reminds that a technology focus will not serve the modern CIO well. It's got to be about the end customer. Mark writes:

On how Addison Lee Group uses development methods to improve the business, not just deliver a technology change, Cohen says:

I hate the dogma behind modern methodologies. Of course we use Agile but we also use Waterfall. We are “experience led and product centric” with rapid feature iteration, but we also run traditional projects. The question is always, are we improving the customer (passenger and driver) experience and can we do it better and faster? And, by the way, Agile is not always about fast.

Phil wraps his piece with a reminder: cost transparency and innovation go hand in hand.

As the experiences above show, it’s hard work to get a proper handle on costs in a way that makes sense for planning an IT budget in the context of business goals. But the example of Amadeus shows the potential rewards — real growth in innovation to drive the business, without paying a huge penalty in mushrooming IT running costs.

Happy children eating apple
Diginomica picks - my top three stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my four top choices from our vendor coverage:

Jon's grab bag - Before squandering bucks on video, check Barb's Do video marketing right - the pros and cons of YouTube and more. Meanwhile, I got back into it with my fave enterprise foil in Is digital transformation sticking to the wall, or losing its meaning? Debating digital data with Brian Solis.

Cath looks into a missing link in the talent gap with Tech apprenticeship schemes - should they be hired or fired? . Finally, Jerry explores a worthwhile blockchain use case in Is this the party to whom I am speaking? Digital identity meets blockchain, though I don't put as much stock in Gartner's ridiculous extravagant blockchain revenue predictions as Jerry does.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
Reframing the Digital Transformation conversation in 5 steps by David Terrar

MyPOV: After my debate with Brian Solis on digital transformation, where we were able to make some distinctions between digital transformation and change management, it was good to see David Terrar of The Agile Elephant dig into DT (no pun intended) from his recent cloudy talks in London. After defining digital transformation, Terrar warns against getting techno-obsessed:

The crucial point is that emerging technologies and innovation are driving it, but the true transformation is all about business, mindset and leadership change.

Terrar advocates an open management style and a holistic approach. But - there must be compatibility with legacy systems. He thinks an agile method can bridge that gap:

Your plan should draw on agile thinking while still satisfying the financial demands of the C-suite. Think in terms of short time scales and multiple iterations. Don’t fear experimentation or failure.

Terrar addresses the issue of buy-in. Transformation might sound sexy, but corporate change is freaking hard. If we're going to grab an oar and row, we better have a good "why":

To get employees, customers, and investors on board, leadership needs to communicate the big idea - the “why” of what you are trying to achieve by reinventing your business.

We could have a longer debate with Terrar on how companies are getting stuck, and what to do about that. Example: Solis' latest data from Altimeter shows that digital transformation is still perceived as a cost center (28%), and data to prove ROI is hard to come by (29%). Cultural issues also pose notable difficulty, with entrenched viewpoints, resistance to change (26%), and legal and compliance concerns (26%) stymieing progress.

Those percentages aren't incredibly high for any one factor, but they do add up. They give context for why Terrar is arguing for a business context for DT, rather than a tech-project-approach, the latter of which won't be able to overcome most of those obstacles.

Other standouts

  • The Cloud and Open Source Powder Keg - a complex-but-important story from Stephen O'Grady. Open source licensing stakes rise as Amazon throws its weight around: "Companies have gone from regarding cloud providers like Amazon, Google or Microsoft as not even worth mentioning as competition to dreadful, existential threat."
  • The Case for Transparency in End-User License Agreements (EULAs) - Lysa Myers makes her case: "As we're seeing with the many recent privacy gaffes by global mega corporations, EULAs written only to be read or understood by lawyers are causing massive consumer distrust."

Honorable mention


Overworked businessman
Another week, another privacy mishap (Dozens of companies leaked sensitive data thanks to misconfigured Box accounts). This one's on users, but Box's confusing sharing settings aren't going to win any industry UX awards either.

Sometimes an acerbic headline can really twist the screws. Cue Zack Whittaker: Facebook won’t store data in countries with human rights violations — except Singapore (Facebook's pretzel-twist justification is just about ready for a stand-up routine at the local open mic 2019 hypocrisy award. Speaking of hypocrisy awards, here's some pretty rich cake:

Then we get to blocksplaining the blockchain:

I'm all for a sober exploration of blockchain. However, I'm not sure the PR folks who issued this release were entirely sober by the time they hit send. Hey, they're in good company. See you next time...

If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses - in a good or bad way - let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does.

Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed. 'myPOV' is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.