CIO’s today have a huge responsibility drive technology leadership. They play a big role in driving business operations in addition to enabling their business to capitalise on market opportunities while simultaneously maximising value through cost savings.

It took about 75 years for the telephone to connect 50 million people, 3.5 years for Facebook and 35 days for an app like Angry Birds. The incredible rate of change is increasing at a rapid pace, and only a few organisations understand this well and have a plan and vision. “Our industry does not respect tradition – it only respects innovation,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella highlighted in an email to employees on his first day as CEO. This massive rate of change across all industries creates an insatiable need for IT innovation. Today, every business is a technology business and organisations across all verticals are reinventing themselves through digital tools. For companies to take advantage of this, it is essential for IT to move from the backroom to the boardroom and place technology at the heart of business success.

This increased responsibility comes with the opportunity to provide thought leadership on critical decisions that generate new streams of business value. Let me outline the key focus areas to drive digital transformation in this decade. While this is not the full list, it is a good starting point.

Enabling Better Business Decisions
If data is the new oil, then in-memory data processing is the refinery. The ability to derive meaningful real-time insights to improve strategic decision-making is a huge competitive differentiator for a company. For instance, SAP HANA delivers levels of performance that exceed, by thousands of times, those of conventional platforms. It transforms the business by streamlining transactions, analytics, planning, predictive, and sentiment data processing onto a single in-memory database helping organisations get immediate answers to really complex questions in seconds. This substantially speeds up processes and improves decision-making.

Companies are using SAP HANA from enabling predictive maintenance and fine-tuning logistics to real-time financial planning and customer segmentation. Many businesses also use SAP HANA to cut through the clutter of several monitoring tools to create a single-pane-of-glass view into operations.

Companies are using SAP HANA from enabling predictive maintenance and fine-tuning logistics to real-time financial planning and customer segmentation. Many businesses also use SAP HANA to cut through the clutter of several monitoring tools to create a single-pane-of-glass view into operations.

United Energy, a provider of safe and reliable energy to the residents of Melbourne was able to get deep insights from over 1 billion historical and current records using the SAP HANA platform. They could run what-if scenarios and predictive analysis in seconds to identify previously-undetected patterns and respond quickly.

Unlocking Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence is poised to become the next digital frontier and companies should prepare for it now. From healthcare and manufacturing to banking and retail, AI is unleashing disruption at a scale never witnessed before. According to Economist’s Intelligence Unit, 44% of business executives say that delaying artificial intelligence implementations will make their businesses more vulnerable. AI investment areas, depending on the industry, tend to cluster around machine learning and deep learning, predictive and prescriptive analytics, natural language processing and recommendation engines.

Social businesses move from top-down management to bottom-up inspiration and from one-way directives to unstructured conversations. Companies that embrace disruption can harness this potential and convert it into products, sales and profits. The next significant step in the evolution of social business will be accelerated by the CIO and CMO, who need to play a crucial role in establishing a transparent environment – externally as well as internally.

Taking an Integrated Approach to Enterprise Security
Businesses are not the only ones who are stepping up their innovation game. Cyber criminals are upping their ante, leveraging machine learning to target victims with phishing emails and collecting publicly available social media information to trick businesses into wiring money.

On the other hand, fake “Likes”, dishonest product reviews and misleading advertisements are making the internet less trustworthy.

Taking an Integrated Approach to Enterprise Security
Businesses are not the only ones who are stepping up their innovation game. Cyber criminals are upping their ante, leveraging machine learning to target victims with phishing emails and collecting publicly available social media information to trick businesses into wiring money. On the other hand, fake “Likes”, dishonest product reviews and misleading advertisements are making the internet less trustworthy.

Taking an Integrated Approach to Enterprise Security
Businesses are not the only ones who are stepping up their innovation game. Cyber criminals are upping their ante, leveraging machine learning to target victims with phishing emails and collecting publicly available social media information to trick businesses into wiring money. On the other hand, fake “Likes”, dishonest product reviews and misleading advertisements are making the internet less trustworthy.

Cyber security can no longer remain just an IT issue. It is an enterprise-wide risk management issue. It is one of the most crucial areas where business and IT need to work very closely to overcome threats which can cause damage worth millions of dollars. Just ask Equifax which will most likely have to shell out billions of dollars due to a data breach.

Who Will Lead the Show?
One question that I get asked often is who should lead this transformation. Should it be the business leaders or should it be the CIO? When organisations are focusing on creating value for the customers, employees and shareholders, a transformation is a journey that can start anywhere in the organisation and at any stage. This is a two-way street. In fact, I recommend that they go beyond Business-IT alignment and look at Business-IT integration.

CIO PROFILE
Wendy Komadina
Head of Product and Brand for Australia and New Zealand, Lenovo Data Center Group

Wendy Komadina is the Head of Product and Brand for Australia and New Zealand, at Lenovo Data Center Group. She has been helping IT align with Business goals for nearly 20 years, developing strategic partnerships for technology vendors, the channel community, product and brand leaders and CIOs.