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Driving business innovation through technology innovation

CIOs are ideally placed to be innovation champions, identifying and exploring emerging and existing technology with the business.

Overview


Speed matters in the digital economy. Customers expect products and services to be instantly available through whatever channel they choose. New competitors are springing up from unrelated industries or low-cost, technology powered digital business models. These competitors apply a different mind-set and path to seize market share and turn the value chain of an established company, or even an industry, on its head.

As technology leaders, CIOs have a tremendous opportunity to be relentlessly proactive in identifying how technology can create new value for the business.  CIOs and the IT organizations they lead are well connected to the technology industry with the skills and talents to make sense of an increasingly complex and ever-changing landscape.  They also have the visibility across the business, from research and development to marketing, operations, sales and distribution.  As such, CIOs are ideally placed to be innovation champions—identifying and exploring emerging and existing technology with the business and working together to create new business opportunities.

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Thirty-five percent of executives are investing in digital innovation as part of their overall business strategy.
Source: Accenture Technology Vision 2015

Key Findings

Leading CIOs who successfully steer technology innovation for the business have three distinct characteristics, they:

  1. Are relentlessly innovative: Innovation is not a hobby to be picked up and put down when time permits.  In the same way that CIOs would build an IT capability for a service management function, the technology innovation agenda needs to be systematically established.

  2. Earn the right to innovate at an enterprise level: Leading CIOs help their businesses gain agility through simplification of the IT architecture, operating model and working processes.  Successful simplification starts with the business strategy and vision, not technology, and presents the CIO with the opportunity to open the debate about how technology innovation can support and empower the business.

  3. Lead by example with innovation to become a digital leader: Leading CIOs demonstrate the credentials to be a digital leader.  They bring the discipline to join up innovation and business change across the organization to deliver end-to-end digital transformational change.

From implementer to innovator

Under threat from the commoditization of core technology, and increased maturity of as-a-service offerings and the sourcing market, the CIO role is at risk of shrinking—threatening to become little more than a manager of third-party services. CIOs can lead the digital charge if they:


Develop a business and technology vision

Bring the latest technology trends, insights and implications and kick start a joint business and technology innovation agenda. The process will expose weaknesses in the strategy and open up the next round of business and technology collaboration opportunities.


Simplify and drive agility. 

Trial innovative initiatives, technologies, services and working practices that can begin to address technology complexity. Address processes and prepare to operate as a multi-speed business.


Formalize innovation. 

Establish the business and technology innovation appetite, secure seed funding and establish a technology innovation service.

Digital Transformation Leaders

Lead by example with innovation to become a digital transformation leader.

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Recommendations

Under threat from the commoditization of core technology, increased as-a-service maturity and the sourcing market, the CIO role is at risk of shrinking—becoming little more than a manager of third-party services. CIOs can lead the digital charge if they:

  • Develop a business and technology vision: Bring the latest technology trends, insights and implications and kick start the technology innovation agenda. The process will expose weaknesses in the strategy and open up the next round of business and technology collaboration opportunities.

  • Simplify and drive agility. Trial innovative initiatives, technologies, services and working practices that can begin to address technology complexity.  Address processes and prepare for a multi-speed business.

  • Formalize innovation.  Establish the technology innovation appetite, secure seed funding and become a venture capitalist for technology—and, ultimately, for the business.

Formalizing technology innovation and leading by example will quickly reposition and secure the long term future of the CIO at the center of the digital innovation debate.

LEARN MORE ABOUT ACCENTURE STRATEGY


Author
David Quinney

David Quinney
Managing Director—Accenture Strategy 
United Kingdom and Ireland


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