Digital transformation: Why coauthoring beats collaboration

CIOs leading successful digital transformation efforts explain why collaboration is not enough anymore
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Core Systems vs. Systems of Engagements CIO

At some of the largest and most innovative companies in the world, it’s not uncommon to hear a room full of executives talking about DevOps, MVPs, or scrum teams. In one such meeting at Walmart, someone suggested to CEO Doug McMillon that he should perhaps talk in business terms versus using the language of IT. 

“McMillon’s response was that these are business terms – that this is the way the company is going to work in the future and so everyone needs to learn them,” according to Clay Johnson, CIO of Walmart, who is quoted in a new report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.

[ Read our related article: The CIO’s new job: Teach everyone to speak tech ]

That sends a powerful message from the top that IT and the business are no longer two separate entities. Leading CIOs operating in this new way have long shed their “order taker” personas and are now taking steps even beyond collaboration: They are now coauthoring solutions with partners throughout the business. 

“We’re not going to tell you what to do. We’re not going to come in and tell you how it is. We’re going to pull out a blank sheet of paper, envision perfect, and coauthor a solution toward that path,” says Curt Carver, CIO at the University of Alabama at Birmingham

The report, “Transformation Masters: The New Rules of CIO Leadership,” offers examples of what coauthoring looks like at leading companies, from co-locating multifunctional teams responsible for specific products, to adopting cloud-like, self-service characteristics in IT. Download the full report to learn more. 

Carla Rudder is a community manager and program manager for The Enterprisers Project. She enjoys bringing new authors into the community and helping them craft articles that showcase their voice and deliver novel, actionable insights for readers.  

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