The Chief Information Officer Must Be A Risk-Taker Too
The entrepreneurial chief information officer, or CIO, works with an entrepreneurial CEO or business unit executive to marshal all the resources in the IT organization, and creatively links to resources outside of IT, to define and capture new and growing business opportunities.
The primary focus of the entrepreneurial CIO is on new business impact, and this impact is felt in three major ways:
Velocity of change. This is the ability to influence change through the structure of the business, so that a change in strategy can be implemented at a rate that outperforms all other competitors, drawing revenue at an earlier time and at a rapid pace. Improvements in this area lead to gaining competitive advantage quickly in new markets with new offerings.
Strategic leverage and extension. These are capabilities that extend strategy for the enterprise to new markets, new industries and new uses, leading to growth in revenue against entrenched and new competition.
Operational efficiencies. These efficiencies improve operations to gain breakaway competitive advantage, further increasing the rate of revenue and earnings growth. Gaining an improvement that is a factor of 10 or more is key to establishing true competitive advantage in the area of operational efficiencies.
An observer might comment, “Isn’t this what CIOs do anyway?” The answer is, yes, there is a point at which CIOs must do this to support the business. The distinctive feature of the entrepreneurial CIO is the proactive willingness and courage to take the high-level risks also undertaken by the business to provide new or breakaway competitive advantages that translate directly into revenue, financial results and market share.
It is the willingness to apply the highest level of creativity available within the organization to do things in a fundamentally different way that establishes new sources of shareholder value, while also setting new levels for IT productivity.