3 ways CIOs must adapt to thrive in a world of Digital Darwinism

3 ways CIOs must adapt to thrive in a world of Digital Darwinism

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October 04, 2016
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One hundred fifty seven years ago, Charles Darwin noted that certain species of finches and tortoises adapted differently when living in various environments. Fast forward to today, and we’re seeing a similar relationship playing out among businesses as the Internet of Things (IoT) and other pillars of digital transformation such as cloud, mobility, and big data analytics sweep across every industry – from retail to manufacturing to healthcare to transportation.

As we’ve seen time and time again, the technology landscape is always evolving, constantly creating new opportunities and threats. This Digital Darwinism creates a system where companies that embrace new technological advances and grow to fit the new reality will flourish and maintain a competitive advantage, while those that hesitate get left behind.

Ultimately in business, it truly is the survival of the fittest. According to IDC, two-thirds of the Global 2000 now realizes digital transformation isn’t a fad, but a do-or-die business reality and will embrace the evolution by the end of 2017. Below are three things that CIOs need to consider as they embrace the evolution and undergo a digital transformation.

Observe: Survey your surroundings and anticipate ever-changing consumer demand and preferences

In today’s digital world, “old guard” companies will have their markets disrupted by new business models introduced by young, digitally native companies like Uber and Airbnb. Legacy companies must continue to innovate using these new business models while embracing the relevant enabling technologies. GM, for example, decided to join forces with Lyft to combine its physical assets with Lyft’s digital assets to broaden its customer base.

Businesses like GM that successfully embark on the digital transformation journey in a timely fashion will be able to smoothly navigate digital changes while anticipating the new trends lurking on the horizon. Businesses that fail to adapt to ever-changing surroundings will not fare as well. An industry leader in the 1990s, Blockbuster was unable to keep up with new digital innovations from companies like Netflix and Redbox and was quickly forced to file for bankruptcy and close all of its 300 locations in the U.S. due to increasing consumer demand for the digital distribution of videos. If Blockbuster had been prepared for the technological advancements and adapted quickly to the new digital ecosystem, it may have been able to remain an industry powerhouse.

Plan: Develop an agile business assurance strategy

To be successful, a CIO must set and execute a strategy to use information and digital assets to continuously improve the customer experience, operational processes, and business models. Constant business innovation, empowered by full utilization of new and developing technologies is critical for a company to succeed. To survive and even thrive in a Digital Darwinism reality, CIOs must look beyond technological improvements and focus on business innovations to develop a comprehensive business assurance strategy.

"Businesses that fail to adapt to ever-changing surroundings will not fare as well."

Success depends on effective risk mitigation of service disruptions. When a service is disrupted, the CIO depends on his IT team to report in real time the cause, whether it is related to a performance issue or a cyber security breach, and propose a recovery plan. A common situational awareness and collaboration across IT teams are necessary to quickly discover the cause of the service disruption and devise a recovery plan. In many cases, service performance degrades over time and is related to interdependencies across IT domains. An effective risk mitigation strategy will enable CIOs to innovate with confidence, offer superb customer experience, increase their customer base and reduce their operational expenses – all of which results in increased revenue and profitability.

Embrace: Use your new digital assets and the data they produce to deliver real-time data for critical business insights

With the growth of IoT and devices constantly being connected, enormous amounts of data are being generated, which has the potential to be analyzed for better insights and decision making.  To completely embrace the new digital lifestyle and survive in an age of Digital Darwinism, the CIO must monitor information continuously and in real-time and analyze the collected data efficiently to develop actionable intelligence.

Since every digital action and transactions traverse the network, traffic is a primary data source. The efficient collection, organization, and analysis of traffic data can turn it into actionable intelligence the CIO can utilize to monitor trends or usage patterns to better position the business. The benefits include improved operational efficiencies and agility to quickly introduce new revenue-generating services that redefine the customer experience and support new business models.

Business is a dog-eat-dog world. CIOs must learn from their surroundings, plan for the future, and diligently collect and organize the data being generated by digital services, and use analytics to make it actionable. If utilized effectively to develop and adopt a comprehensive business assurance strategy, the actionable intelligence provided on IoT and other digital transformation services can be the difference between being the next Netflix or the next Blockbuster.

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As Area Vice President Strategy at NETSCOUT, Michael is responsible for developing and executing strategic and content marketing plans. As part of an agile marketing organization these activities include situation analysis, differentiation, positioning, messaging, content creation and continuous improvement based on the feedback loop from the paid, earned, shared, and owned (PESO) channels metrics. Michael's technical areas of expertise include SaaS/Cloud, virtualization, Mobile IP, security, IP networking, Wi-Fi/wireless, VoIP and remote access.

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