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Digital Transformation and the CIO Leadership Role

By Michael Segal March 15, 2017

Brands and companies globally are moving further along the Digital Transformation (DX) journey, as their focus increasingly shifts from physical assets to a data driven business model. In tandem with this, we are seeing the rise of new executives such as the Chief Digital Officer or Chief Data Officer, as well as a new breed of tech-savvy Chief Marketing Officer intent on experimenting with a variety of SaaS services and dragging the enterprise into the digital age. So where does this leave the CIO?

Well, in spite of this evolution, the role of the CIO is actually becoming an increasingly important one. DX is touching all aspects of business, and as a result all enterprises need to be aware that every system upgrade, connection, or native and third-party applications added to existing IT infrastructure (on-premise or in the cloud) will increase service delivery complexity, scale, and operational risk. With an unparalleled knowledge of the organization’s existing IT infrastructure and future demands, the CIO will need to become the leader and facilitator of DX initiatives across the enterprise.

Controlling the Chaos

The DX journey can be challenging and even perilous for any enterprise. As many organizations move towards a continuous development ethos, driven by the pace of digital service development, there will be chaos within the enterprise if the DX process is not managed carefully. As this transformation accelerates, the CIO will have to champion and assure flawless execution of the corporate strategy that utilizes information and digital assets that enable a company to redefine the customer experience, operational processes and business models.

If the CIO is accountable for controlling the chaos it is crucial that they should have a major influence over the governance and service assurance across all other business-services-related initiatives. The CIO needs to pull together all the disparate initiatives that slip under the radar, bypassing corporate IT, to lead a consolidated and structured DX program. They should also have the power to veto initiatives that do not comply with the overall corporate IT quality assurance strategy. With this in mind, the importance of business assurance to DX becomes clear.

The bottom line is that any DX strategy must be underpinned by an integrated business assurance and a tightly woven ecosystem of ‘Pillars of Innovation,’ namely Big Data Analytics, Cloud & XaaS and IoT, among others and the service assurance platforms that manages all the applications, compute, network, and storage workloads and all their interdependencies as one single service delivery system.

Business Assurance and the needs of the CIO

With the challenges faced by any enterprise when it comes to the DX journey, it is crucial that someone oversees the entire process and makes the right decisions about the pillars of innovation and management technologies the organization should utilize to fulfil its new digital objectives. This leadership role of assuring a flawless DX transformation falls on the shoulders of the CIO, but they can only do this effectively if they have a real-time and historic view of business services and their infrastructure.

This is only possible through continuous monitoring of all aspects of IT services at the system level, which will spot and isolate any anomalies that may present a hindrance to business performance. With every business action and transaction traversing through traffic flows, Business Assurance is bolstered by the real-time data that is collected through pervasive software-centric instrumentation of these flows and translated into actionable insight. The analytics of this smart data is of huge strategic value to the enterprise both in terms of productivity and revenue. Ideally this platform would also scale and support holistic visibility across the entire service delivery infrastructure, spanning all Pillars of Innovation and their respective applications.

CIOs of companies spanning the entire global market will be vital to the success or failure of the business as they lead it through the transformation process. They will be at the helm, driving and facilitating change across the enterprise estate and it will be down to the CIO to manage the digital transition, maintain a sense of order, and thus lay the foundations for the future. Having a robust Business Assurance strategy in place is crucial to the CIO achieving these objectives as this will help facilitate the successful navigation of the DX journey and secure the future of the enterprise.


If you’d like to learn more about digital transformation, be sure to check out TMC and Crossfire Media’s newest conference and expo, Communications 20/20, happening July 18-20 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The event will focus on the next wave of technology and innovations that will transcend the importance of person to person contact, disrupting the future of the entire communications industry. Find out more HERE.

Edited by Alicia Young
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