November 29, 2020

What CEOs want in a CIO: A strategic business partner

For years we’ve heard that change is constant in business. But now it’s more than just constant; it’s accelerating. While you can find plenty of articles that talk about how hard it is to lead organizational change, this environment couldn’t be better for CIOs, especially the ones who are ready to show up differently and unlock strategic value for the business.

A recent Deloitte study finds that CEOs are looking for CIOs to step up as strategic business partners who will shepherd the organization through these ongoing cycles of accelerating transformation and disruption. They know that technology will play an increasingly important role in driving business strategy and performance going forward. Indeed, 93% of CEO respondents to the Deloitte survey say that technology is important in driving product and service innovation and 90% say technology is important for delivering top-line growth (compared to 82% and 83% of CIOs, respectively). With IT’s end-to-end view of the enterprise, tech leaders are uniquely positioned to identify and lead industry-disrupting change.

Danielle Brown, Vice President and CIO, Brunswick CorporationDanielle Brown

One leader who’s been ahead of the curve in this area is Danielle Brown, Vice President and CIO at Brunswick Corporation. When she joined Brunswick in 2016, the company was in the midst of transformation and grappling with some of the big questions nearly every organization has been dealing with in recent years: How do we shift from focusing on products to emphasizing solutions? How do we engage with customers differently and reimagine the customer experience? What new business models will help us innovate the industry?

From modernizing platforms to enhancing business analytics to implementing digital products to transform the customer experience, IT plays an essential role in enabling each of these areas. But before it can do that, the IT organization has to, as Brown puts it, get its house in order. It needs to evolve itself.

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