The Blended CIO @Korea

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Beginning this year Frits Bussemaker from CIONET in the Netherlands was invited by Paul Iske, professor Open Innovation at Maastricht University in the Netherlands to join him and 80 other international speakers from Europe, India, China and the US, in Seoul, South Korea to present this April at the K.E.Y. PLATFORM 2016 conference of MoneyToday Media, the biggest publisher in South Korea. South Korea is an impressive country. At the end of the Korean war South Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world and since then experienced one of the fastest growing economies in the world currently ranking 11th by nominal GDP. They call it  ‘the miracle of the Han river’. This conference gave Frits a first insight how South Korea got there: a go-get attitude in combination with keeping an eye on the big picture. The overall topic of the conference was Globalization 4.0 or, the Fourth Industrial Revolution as proposed by the World Economic Forum. The conference addressed the topic from different angles like identifying the ‘changing universal human issue’s, the next generation of the global finance industry, the Innovator’s DNA, Media and ‘Algorithms that change the world’. The digital angle was just a small part of the conference. In two seperate presentations I was asked to present the perspective of the Digital Leader and the changing role of the CIO with specific examples from the Finance Industry: the ‘Blended CIO’. A brief outline of the CIO presentation:

William Synott, an American organizational theorist, is generally credited with coining the label “Chief Information officer” in a speech in 1980. At the time organizations had mainframes with just a couple of expert users, 10 years later Client/Server was introduced with the employees as users. Again 10 years later the internet came to live and customers were starting to use the IT systems. All those years, the CIO was end responsible for the Digital Strategy and managing a growing team and budget as the complexity increased. With the emergance of end-user focused technology like Mobile, Social Media and Cloud we see a recent shift from “Do you have a digital Strategy?” to “Is your Strategy Digital?”  This subtle change is significant. We are already seeying IT staff and budgets moving outside the IT department and IT becomes a company wide responsibility. The new CIO, who I like to call the Blended CIO, today needs to organize value through collaboration with his peers with which he has a non-hierarchical relationship.  The shift happing is from vertical to horizontal management.

This shift by the way can be explained by fundamental economic principles: in 1991 Prof. Ronald Coase recieved the Nobel Price for his work on the theory of ‘transaction costs’. It states that an organization can exist when the cost within the organization is cheaper then outside. He basically provided the scientific proof for organizational model als suggested by Frederick Taylor in his 1911 book ‘The principles of Scientific Management’ which gave us the organigram. However, since Coase got his Nobel Price, we got the internet. And the cost of producing something outside dropped so much that the same theory can now be used to explain why hierarchical organizations are shifting to network organizations which organize value together.

The Blended CIO will need to 1) understand both Digital and the Business, how the organization can convert  from ‘analog’ to a ‘digital’ business, 2) will have the transfomational skills to drive collaboration of a multidiciplenairy team and 3) must balance the long term goals with the short term needs to make sure everybody in the value chain trusts Digital.

It was a pleasant surprise to observe that more speakers at the conference were talking about the need for co-creation, collaboration, working together, breaking down the barriers, etc.  In Frits his opinion going digital will allow this to happen and we as a CIO(NET) community will need  the CIO of the future, the Blended CIO, to make it reality.

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