How to lead transformation without building a huge tech team

How to lead transformation without building a huge tech team

Not all companies can open tech incubators or hire thousands of engineers - but they can still compete on technology. If you can't build, orchestrate, top CIOs say

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September 13, 2018
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In an era when every company is competing on the strength of its technology, some companies seem to be at a clear advantage. For instance, Walmart recently opened two technology incubators for machine learning, artificial intelligence, computer vision, and natural language processing, dedicated to reinventing the future of retail – but Walmart is special case. 

“They’re the one-percenters of the corporate space,” Jay Ferro, CIO of Apptega, commented in a new report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. “There are thousands of organizations that don’t have the capital to go hire 6,000 engineers, digital experts, and PhDs.”

If you can’t be a builder of new technology, CIOs say you must become an orchestrator: “leveraging cloud and automation where they make sense, enabling business colleagues to manage some of their own IT, working closely with strategic vendor partners, and developing a radar to spot and take advantage of emerging companies, almost as a venture capital company might do,” the report says. 

The report, “Transformation Masters: The New Rules of CIO Leadership,” paints a picture of what a successful orchestration approach requires from a talent and skills perspective. It also highlights examples from CIOs who are getting orchestration right, like AT&T’s CIO Pam Parisian, who uses microservices to replace monolithic architectures, and Toyota North America CIO Zach Hicks, who leveraged containers to build and launch a product in six days. Download the full report now.

The new rules of CIO leadership

By Harvard Business Review Analytic Services
Carla Rudder is a writer and content manager on The Enterprisers Project.

7 New CIO Rules of Road

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