Strangely, Lemmon says he is still surprised by how little advancement has actually been made in “Digitisation vs Digitalisation”. Companies still make the same mistakes,” he observes. “What I really think gets misunderstood still is the fact that so often, it’s real change in the organisation and its leadership that’s really needed – far more than change in the technology. But often, the technology is seen as the saviour. It’s why some CIOs are still positioned, and expected to manage the technology estate, but what the best ones are really focusing on is: ‘what is the change of state in the organisational capabilities that we want technology to help achieve?’ It’s a subtle, but oh such a different way of thinking and acting.”
Associated with this, Lemmon advises that the implementation of technology should ‘not’ ever be the major part of any business change. “When you’re talking about change – or ‘business transformation’ as it is more grandly called now – the only way it truly succeeds is when the executive leadership team have communicated a clear vision of what the change is designed to bring about, how the technology will impact customers and employees, and ultimately what the value is they want to create -and why.” He adds: “That’s the real essence of getting change done, successful change cannot be delegated!”
But enough looking back – what will the future CIO role involve, and what outlook (positive or negative) will they gaze upon? Here, Lemmon is actually very optimistic. “AI, data insights, voice – the opportunities for gaining customers and redefining the way we do business is just phenomenal,” he says. “The opportunity is very much there if existing and future CIOs are comfortable with operating and leading change, and there are CEO’s who understand that a CIO on the leadership team is critical (this is the 21st Century after all!).
It’s the case that the bigger challenge is finding organisations that understand this outlook – ones who have looked over the metaphorical hill of future success and have seen what’s there on the other side. The behaviours and organisations of today will not likely be the successful ones of tomorrow; so what does your future organisation look like?” More organisations will – he insists – morph into platform-based models, not just as the composition of boards change, but because “the mood music will get clearer (about the value of the CIO) and what is really needed for successes in today’s digital business environment.”