A former CIO and author lays out the blueprint for how to disrupt old-school IT.
The traditional model of IT is starting to look like ancient history, according to Ian Cox. And that isn’t good for CIOs who still see their roles as technology and services providers rather than technology and services brokers, said Cox, a former CIO-turned-consultant and author of Disrupt IT: A New Model for IT in the Digital Age. In the digital age, businesses are looking to technology to create new products and services, not just enable them.
SearchCIO senior news writer Nicole Laskowski recently caught up with Cox to discuss what he sees as the new core competencies for IT, what CIOs need to do to transform their role, and why clinging to old-school IT is helping pave the way for a new C-level executive — the chief digital officer (CDO).
The title of your book is Disrupt IT. Why does IT need to be disrupted?
Ian Cox: The rest of the business is shifting now and thinking about how it can use technology to create value and new revenue streams, new business models, and products and services and digital experiences around existing products. If that’s where the rest of the business is focusing, then the CIO and IT function also need to be focused on creating new business models, and new products and services. That takes a slightly different style of IT than reacting to business need; it’s about working alongside the business and looking for the next opportunity to use technology to create a new product or service.
Because of that, you need different skills. Rather than the hands-on, techie skills we needed in the ’90s, IT — while it’s still a technical department — [needs to] become more business-focused and to look at the IT skills required to add value to the business.
What are those skills?