Press Release - February 28, 2013
How many of you are currently involved in some form of digitization within your organization? How is it affecting your IT organization's ability to interact with its internal and external clients? What is your learning curve looking like, as a result? This month's article deals with all of those issues as Louis Gerzofsky, JB Homer's Director of Information Technology Search, examines the issues and invites you to respond with your experiences and insights.
"The Digital Divide"
Is there a growing divide developing among information technology executives? One group is filled with tactically efficient professionals who keep the lights on and maintain a laser focus on their organizations' internal operations. The other group will also keep the lights on and fight the fires but is comprised of much more outwardly oriented, customer focused executives who proactively use technology to engage their customers, whether they're across the hall or around the world.
In the last two months, JB Homer has received a very welcome influx of search mandates from a wide variety of businesses -- financial services, retail conglomerates and global non-profits. All of these engagement inquiries have had two common requests from our client: "Find us IT executives who understand data optimization." and, most significantly, "Find us outwardly oriented people who know how to engage our customers and keep our employees connected!"
Well run, profitable businesses have always needed to keep an eye on the customer and have always needed executives who understand that need. The onus for customer engagement had traditionally been on the business side of an enterprise. However, the advent of digitals tools enables organizations to create truly interactive 'ecosystems' with their customers ... and employees ... and those digital tools shift more of the spotlight (and opportunities) to the information technology leadership team.
It's incumbent upon today's CIO to be truly 'ambidextrous' within his or her domain. Meaning, you have to keep the lights on while playing a key role in defining and driving the customer experience.
Your success will be determined by your mindset. As a search consultant and an executive coach, I realize that mindsets are difficult to change ... difficult, yes ... but not impossible.
Here are a few suggestions to ponder:
1) Your local college or university is a great place to find really talented people who are using, and in some cases developing the leading and bleeding edge technologies. Even if your company occupies a B2B space, it still has customers and those customers are increasingly being reached by many of the same technologies that B2C businesses depend upon.
2) Vendors and consultants can be a great resource for what's current and what's next on the horizon. The trusted ones can widen your bandwidth in addition to selling you goods and services.
3) What is your relationship with your organization's head of marketing? Those are the people in your organization who spend most of their time worrying about tomorrow's customers. What are you doing to engage them? If you are making time to gain their trust and understand their concerns, they in turn will help re-orient your mindset towards tomorrow's issues and opportunities.
Regardless of your experience level or the nature of your business or organization, everyone has customers or constituencies beyond the walls of their offices. Fighting fires and keeping the lights on will always be important. But an outwardly facing 'digital' mindset may be one of the best ways to keep the sparks of those fires from ever igniting.
"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young." - Henry Ford
As always, we welcome your comments, questions and criticisms. Feel free to contact me (Louis Gerzofsky) via our Online Contact Form.
Thanks in advance for your input!