What Chief Information Officer (CIO) Should Do To Enable Business Innovation

By: Vadim Kotelnikov, Founder of Innovarsity free online Innovation University!


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Business Innovation: The Role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO)

Today, there is a need for information technology (IT) to enable business innovation.

Benefits of e-Business

An ideal CIO is not only accountable for IT function success and business process transformation, but also adopts a more proactive company-external focus and concentrates on using IT to drive innovation and strategic advantage in pursuit of stretch business goals.

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To work effectively with the rest of the organization and enable business innovation. CIO needs to develop an environment within the IT function that is conducive to innovation. IT function should aim to help the business to use new technologies to transform business strategies and processes, and should proactively develop and scan the marketplace for innovative solutions that can create breakthrough business value.


To help the company invent and develop new business models, CIO must find the right balance between two key roles: Operator and Innovator. Finding this balance is often challenging. The Operator role is concerned with business continuity, service quality, and cost containment, while the Innovator role focuses on creating breakthroughs, sustainable competitive advantage, and new revenue streams. Though these roles have somewhat conflicting drivers, the CIO can and must master and synergize them to help the company achieve long term success.

Operational effectiveness and understanding the business are a precondition of being allowed to innovate and create new business value by doing something new with IT. These business innovations may include technology infrastructure improvements, business process improvements. and new products, services, and channels.

Modern IT-powered Value Chain

Internet Business Models

By enabling the business to capitalize on the combination of efficiency-improvement technology and radical innovations, the CIO can turn the IT function into a great strategic business innovation tool for the company.