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  • 7 Laws of Digital Business Transformation for CIOs

    Insights from meeting with CIO's from our management team.

    One of the jobs as part of the management team at TIBCO and the head of engineering for event processing and analytics is to meet with amazing and visionary CIOs in our Executive Briefing Center (EBC) in Palo Alto. They usually ask me to share stories from our customers that have transformed their old-school manual businesses to digital. Since TIBCO has been focused on data in motion before it was fashionable, our customers tend to be among the most innovative in their use of real-time data and analytics, so the stories we can tell get a lively conversation going. 

    Usually, after sharing dozens these stories, CIOs ask something like: "OK, yeah, I get it, I need to automate more, use Fast Data, blaa, blaa, blaa - but where do I start?" Or, more directly, I get asked a lot: "What are the best practices that I can learn from your other customers?"

    Over the past several years we've tried to distill the hundreds of transformation journeys I've seen into a set of canonical "laws." - Lessons learned from leading CIOs that have transformed not only their technology but their culture.

    These laws are fueled by technology, but they aren't technical. The job of a CIO is as much about the people in an organization, and how they embrace technology. So these laws are about the PEOPLE side of digital business transformation, because without changes in attitude, all the technology in the world won't make a difference.,

    So here are our "7 Laws of Digital Transformation for CIOs":

    #1: Evangelize a Bold Mission.

    #2: Establish an Intrapreneurial Culture.

    #3: Begin by Automating Essential, Familiar Tasks.

    #4: Nurture Analytic Excellence.

    #5: Apply Darwinian Laws to Algorithms.

    #6: Consciously Choose White Box Versus Black Box

    #7: Balance Automation and Human Action.

    These 7 Laws help insure that technological AND people innovation occurs, and we're happy to go through them here in the TIBCO Community article one by one to help share the CIO-seat view from our most innovative customers. Let's start at #1, which is to set a bold mission for the coming decades of digital innovation. 

    Law #1: Evangelize a Bold Mission.

    We know that Uber has smashed traditional models of transportation-for-hire. We know that mobile-based shopping apps have fundamentally shifted the way consumers shop, even when they're in the store. We know that digital, algorithmic, trading on Wall Street has gone from less than 5% ten years ago, to over 70% in certain asset classes in 2016. But how did these companies get to be this way? How did their technology leaders get their teams to innovate so boldly?

    The opportunity and threat of digital transformation are scary to most people. CIOs today have to articulate a clear and compelling vision for where their organizations are going with respect to digital technologies, and what the benefit to the organization and individuals will be. CIOs have to explain how IoT and sensor technology can make people better at helping customers, or providing a service. CIOs have to explain how automation and change new opportunities for employees. CIOs have to explain how Spark and Hadoop will help knowledge workers find new insights and do their job better. 

    These are big topics, and many CIOs don't slow down to paint the vision of where they're going, and why everyone's life will be better if they do embrace the change. 

    On Wall Street, the vision that sub-millisecond level trading was going to transform the open outcry style of trading from the early 2000s was a bold vision. But it was also a scary vision for a lot of traders who felt they were going to be replaced. A decade ago, every week, an article appeared that asked: "Who's better at trading, the man or the machine?" The automation of Wall Street was a bold vision that resulted in the modern trader being more of a math geek than an MBA, as they were in the 90s.

    So the first law of digital transformation for CIOs is: as a CIO, ask yourself: what's your bold mission? What will your automated business of the next decade look like? Establishing a clear vision is the first step for CIOs to become Digital Business leaders.

    WANT MORE OF THESE LAWS? LET ME KNOW! Posting this type of contact in the new TIBCO Wiki is a bit of a test. Our TIBCO community tends to be dominated by very technical topics, and we love those, but we thought we would test to see if our community is interested in these CIO-level types of posts as well to learn from the stuff we're hearing in the CIO-suite. If you want to hear more, let us know, and we'll keep writing!


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