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Are you betting your career against the future?

30 Mar 2016

Article by Diana Morello, managing VP at Gartner Research

During a one-on-one session at Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando two years ago, a financial services CIO discussed the rise of consumer technology and the injection of energy it provided in his organisation.

He then took a deep breath, said let’s get down to business, and talked about ERP and infrastructure for the next 20 minutes. His energy went from sky-high to zero almost instantly. Similar conversations have unfolded since then, and I get the sense that CIOs are waiting for something big not to happen to their careers. Sorry, but digital business is big and it will happen to the careers of CIOs and IT professionals.

With its foundation in business, technology, people and things, digital business will move markets and, with it, the value of CIOs and their organisations. Digital business will alter the centre of gravity for IT, moving it from its historical centre of corporate information systems to the new centre at the intersection of physical smart worlds, intelligent software and analytics, customer innovation, vast Internet-based ecosystem platforms and, yes, corporate information systems. For CIOs, their sphere of influence and activity will expand. For IT professionals, their ambitions and career trajectories will get a shot of adrenaline.

Why, then, do we see comparatively little enthusiasm for digital business among CIOs? Is digital business simply a curiosity for them? Here’s a theory. Many CIOs and IT professionals are afraid they will not fit into the future, so they ignore it or resist it. Essentially they are prepared to bet their careers against the future. In other words, they bet that if they do nothing, the markets will not move, the notion of value will not move, and their career futures will stay as they are.

Dream on. Digital business will open (and shut, for some) business and technology opportunities and reveal new opportunities for CIOs and IT professionals to move with the market. The real questions are whether they are up for it, and if so, what they will do about it. You tell me.

Article by Diana Morello, managing VP at Gartner Research

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