The general rule for midsize enterprises, as it is with larger enterprises, is they have to digitally transform themselves or die. But midsize enterprises typically don’t have a chief digital officer (CDO) — and their CIOS typically don’t perform that role. So Gartner recommends that CIOs become CDOs in order to transform their enterprises, in its research note, “Midsize Enterprise CIOs Must Emulate Chief Digital Officers to Create Digital Workplaces.” Following are the highlights of Gartner’s recommendations.
The report says that the CIO’s role in midsize enterprises stands in the way of digital transformation. The report concludes, “In midsize enterprises (MSEs), performance metrics for CIOs tend to be of the traditional operational kind, which is unsuited to the digital era. These metrics need to change, as they often limit CIOs' motivation to focus time and resources on new digital projects.” It then adds, “Only 17% of the MSE respondents to the Gartner 2018 CIO Survey have a digital workplace leader in their organization, but without such leadership attempts to implement new technology may struggle.”
You may wonder why midsize enterprises don’t just hire a CDO. The answer is straightforward, says Gartner: “Appointing a stand-alone digital workplace leader usually won't be feasible for MSEs, due to cost and resource constraints, so this role's responsibilities should generally fall to the CIO.”
How Can Midsize Enterprises Transition Their CIO to CDO Responsibilities?
Gartner says that before any step can be made to transition a CIO to CDO responsibilities, midsize enterprises need to be clear about what the CIO’s future role will be. In the report’s words, it needs to ask and answer these questions: “Will the CIO be the main facilitator of the digital workplace and evolve into a CDO? Or will the CIO just be a contributing supporter of a digital workplace effort led by someone else?”
In many cases, the CIO will evolve into a CDO. But that means the CIO needs to step out beyond traditional tech-only responsibilities. The report concludes, “The associated changes extend beyond the IT organization to all business functions, but especially product management disciplines.”
If you’re worried that a CIO already has too much on his or her plate to handle this, fear not. The report concludes: “If evolution from CIO to CDO sounds unlikely, remember that many of the CIO's traditional duties are being scaled back, following the adoption of SaaS and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and the reduction in infrastructure and outsourcing investments. MSE CIOs therefore often do have scope to focus on more non-IT objectives.”
Where Midsize Enterprises Can Get More Advice
At Alpha Software, we’ve got plenty of advice for midsize and small enterprises looking to get the most out of technology. Check out my blog posts, “How To Choose The Right Mobile Development Tools For Midsize Enterprises,” “How Small Businesses Build Mobile Apps Today - And How They Can Do It Better,” and “The Rise Of Custom Mobile Apps For Small Business.”