For a snapshot of the expectations that many enterprises have for CIOs today, scan recent online job postings. For example:
- “Serve as our lead technology strategist in educating senior leaders on external trends and industry developments.”
- “Work closely with other C-level executives to create strategic plans for the business’ future growth.”
As enterprises look to grow and stay competitive, they often turn to digital business. “Enterprises frequently commission plans for digital business from internal strategists and external consultants,” said Jorge Lopez, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “However, most CEOs and boards of directors lack expertise in digital business and will, therefore, trust CIOs to play a major role in building and vetting these plans.”
A digital business plan can succeed only if leaders act on it.
If you were handed a digital business plan, how would you evaluate it?
Mr. Lopez recommended that CIOs ask five questions about any draft under their review.
1. Does the plan enable us to set the rules of competition?
First, evaluate if a digital business plan even fits the definition of digital business – which is “the creation of new business designs by blurring the physical and digital worlds,” said Mr. Lopez. Creating a new digital channel to sell your company’s traditional products, for example, doesn’t pass the test. Building a smartphone app to turn cars into a mobility service (as is the case with Uber) does.
2. Does it prioritize the opportunities?
The tools and mechanisms that drive digital business (such as sensors, analytics and cloud services) can open up many opportunities for your enterprise. When a digital business plan doesn’t specify top-line priorities, it’s difficult for senior executives to decide what’s important. They might choose the easiest, least expensive projects, which won’t ultimately transform the business.