Historically, most IT organizations have taken an internal definition of who their “customer” is—focusing on employees, not outside clients. The traditional IT charter was to meet the day-to-day support needs of the employee base while advocating for new technology innovations and handling the rollout and maintenance of enterprise systems.
Digitization has flipped that long-standing customer view on its head. Today, much of a company’s product line or service offerings is centered around technology, which means that IT organizations, led by CIOs, need to engage fully with outside constituents to understand their business needs. The turnaround requires new thinking about IT organizational structure and culture as well as redefining what constitutes important skill sets. Domain expertise in technical areas such as AI, analytics, security, software-defined storage, and the cloud are certainly critical to the modern IT organization, but so are softer skills in areas such as project management, business analysis, and communications.
To nurture this new mind-set, CIOs need to make significant cultural and organizational changes. Already CIOs are spending more time with external customers, getting to know their business and pain points. The “2018 State of the CIO” research found that 71% of CIOs are meeting with customers frequently and that is expected to increase.