CIO Must Become Chief Innovation Officer

CIO Must Become Chief Innovation OfficerThe IT landscape in large enterprises has changed radically in the last 5 years. Where the challenge previously was to develop the best IT platform for a company and to find ways to store data in traditional databases such as Oracle, today the ‘I’ in Information has changed to ‘Innovation’ in the CIO’s title.

The CIO today, has to not only rapidly evolved the IT landscape from on premise to Cloud, but more importantly the complexity, role and diversity of ‘data’ has radically changed in large enterprises.

Enterprises need to:

(1) Access a diversity of data which their original databases were not designed for.

(2) Open up their IT landscape and deal with new paradigms of security.

(3) Integrate mobile as ‘the’ critical (not auxiliary) device

(4) Integrate with a new scale, diversity and distribution of data the like of which we have never seen.

(5) Do all of this in real-time, seamlessly as such to drive the presence, sales and revenue of the company which implies a direct integration with product development and marketing.

A tall order! But the good news is that most enterprises are at least aware of this impending landscape change and are aware that there is not enough innovation in the large enterprise yet. Something we need to much more of.

However, the wave is starting. An example is Verisk Analytics. I found Perry Rotella’s recent Forbes article spot on in terms of the change in the role of the CIO and why innovation in ‘data’ is a critical consideration. Verisk Analytics, offers products and services, based on the access and integration with real time data, in the area of risk assessment. If Verisk could not do the real time integration with the diverse data, they would be highly limited in the scope of their offerings. This is an example of a business which has transitioned from the old school analytics and risk assessment to what is possible today. To do so, Verisk without a doubt had to deal with new data architecture paradigms, integrating new data sources into various silos in their company and effectively developing real time analytics based on new data sources which also includes social… Verisk then in turn provides this information to insurance companies, healthcare and others as real time data services which they in turn can utilize to change their business.

This is exactly the same data transformation change which we should be seeing in ALL other large enterprises. Whether I am a retail company trying to better connect (influence) my customers, whether I am a bank trying to reach my clients, an online vendor trying to reach new customers and/or if I am large enterprise trying to build ‘data services’, the central premise is the ability to reach diverse, highly distributed, non-traditional data (such as NoSQL) AND to effectively integrate my data sources within my enterprise to develop new data services.

Easier said than done, folks. I think the right Chief Innovation Officer is a key asset to many large enterprises whose focus is without a doubt the many aspects of DATA. And yes, this also includes the most rapidly growing IT device, the highly diverse MOBILE device. Maybe it is time we redefined data to not just mean inbound ‘data’ that we would like to connect, rather ‘any thing’ out there that we may want/need to be connected with. A marriage of ‘devices’, ‘social’ and ‘data.’ In ProVoke, we talk about the necessity of disruption in order to innovate. Data, mobile and social have brought huge disruptions to the enterprise that we need to innovate around and represent some of the key areas of innovation.

I would love to hear your thoughts as we continue this dialog.

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Women in a Culture of DisruptionLinda Bernardi is a Technology Strategist, Investor, and Founder & CEO at StraTerra Partners, The Bernardi Leadership Institute and a Strategic Advisor at Cloudant Inc.  She is also the Author of Provoke, Why the Global Culture of Disruption is the Only Hope for Innovation. For more information:

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3 Responses to CIO Must Become Chief Innovation Officer

  1. Pingback: The changing face of the campus CIO — from University Business by Thomas Durso

  2. sanchezjb says:

    Innovation is much more than simply being about and focused on “data.” Enhanced data analysis can result in new insights but how many of those insights are really going to result in true innovations? These new insights may result in enhancements to existing products and services or perhaps a new product or service but unless these product and service changes radically disrupt the status quo, they are not innovations, they are improvements.

    Disruptive innovations have usually resulted from discovery vs. specific targeted “innovation” initiatives. Frans Johansson recently authored an excellent book on this very premise, titled, “The Click Moment: Seizing Opportunity in an Unpredictable World.”

    While it is certainly possible that innovation can have its roots in data analysis, it is by no means restricted to data analysis. Organizations need to recognize this and change their focus to one that also emphasizes discovery and learning from discovery. See “Do We Want a Culture of Innovation or Do We Need a Culture of Learning?” at

  3. Pingback: Innovation Excellence | Innovation Quotes of the Week – September 30, 2012

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