Alex Buhler presents at Conference Board of Canada

Alex Buhler recently presented at the Conference Board of Canada’s Council of Chief Information Officers. The theme of the event was: What’s Relevant Today, Tomorrow, and in the Future for the Strategic CIO

Alex shared his perspective on the key strategic role a CIO must play in driving the digital business transformation while managing demand and expectations from others: Customers, Shareholders, Board of Directors, CEO, CFO, CMO, vendors and the press – what he calls CIO 3.0.

The following are key highlights from his presentation:

1) The CIO could have played a critical role at places like Blockbuster when Netflix and other online models were coming out. Blockbuster, for example, went from 60,000 employees with 9,000 stores to bankruptcy. Today and in the future, we need a CIO 3.0 to identify and lead business digital strategy and transformation.

2) To move to CIO 3.0, you need to not only add digital business strategy, but need to look to add new value and possibly a new business model.

3) New digital trends and models use existing infrastructure and knowledge and assets. E.g. Netflix uses your Internet connection. GoogleMaps uses data transmitted from millions of telephones to show you traffic patterns and other information. The intelligence in these models is their use of existing infrastructure to deliver superior value.

4) CIO 3.0 transformation for digital business:

a. First, and most critical, is Culture: Do you have the right one?

b. Align vision and strategy.

c. Create a common plan.

d. Prioritize and pace your team – pace layering. You’ll have to do systems of record, and need to provide systems for differentiation, but it’s really systems for innovation where you provide strategic value.

e. Look at new skills required.

f. Communication – “Why” is key and the first place to start (why are we transforming?); then “How” do you do it; then “what” will you do. TedTalk about Golden Circle very good to illustrate this critical point of starting with “Why”. See:

g. Leadership Org chart – make sure people behind you don’t have to work as hard – remove barriers for them – consider the “V” pattern of Geese flying (the lead makes it easier for those behind).

h. Celebrate results for new value.

5) “Talent Strategy is about listening and building genuine working relationships with your team because at the end of the day, people are now joining a boss and not a company.”

6) “The Wolf in CIO’s Clothing”. Tina Nunno, Gartner VP and Fellow. Sometimes you need to be a shark, and sometimes a dolphin, but most times you need to be a wolf – smart, cunning, and operate in packs. See: