Our blog

The Digital CIO


20 April 2016

Chris Lindsay

Blogs by author: Chris Lindsay, Head of Digital Transformation, BT.


I’ve been incredibly lucky over the past few weeks to have had the opportunity to speak to dozens of companies about their digital transformation. It’s been pretty eye opening.

Everyone is working out their unique approach of adapting in this digital era. The smartest are already using technology in new and creative ways to transform their business.

And it’s not just the traditionally technology-oriented industries, like banking or retail, who are investing in digital transformation. Some of the most radical and inspiring projects I’ve heard about are in manufacturing, automotive and energy and resources. Complex multinational corporations making a real difference to their customers, employees and the wider world. I’ll be sharing more of their stories over time.

Our report “The BT CIO report 2016 – the digital CIO”, shows that CIOs around the world are embracing digital transformation to reinvent their organisations’ processes and systems.

Without exception, every CIO considers the digitisation of business to be a personal priority – whether it’s disruptive new revenue streams, digital elements to customer experience, or the transformation of internal processes. The smartest CIOs are bridging the gap between business and technology, and responding to both employees and customers expectations simultaneously.

As champions of positive change, CIOs are seeing their IT function become a key enabler across the business; 72 per cent of senior IT decision makers say that the CIO has become more central in the boardroom over the last two years. Almost three quarters (70 per cent) of boardrooms expect their CIO to be a creative disruptor. Flexibility around new business needs, faster adoption of technology trends and more agile working practices are now regarded as the CIO’s crucial assets.

Understanding, planning, realising and evolving your own digital possible is quite a challenge.

As I speak with our clients, I’m seeing increasingly innovative approaches to working with partner ecosystems, as CIOs realise that they are increasingly critical to business success.

That’s one reason that, at BT, we invest, with our partners, in our own customer innovation centre, Adastral Park, and our global network of showcases. They give CIOs the opportunity to have one eye on the future without losing sight of today. As one client commented “the network is everything, it’s like the skeleton, or the nervous system for our business.”

The digital CIO is one of the most demanding roles in business. The CIOs I’ve met have been strategic, creative, growth-minded and cost conscious. Understanding both technology and people, and balancing control with empowerment. They are embracing change rather than resisting it.

I’m excited to be supporting creative and innovative CIOs as they are powering new business models, transforming customer experience, and digitising their businesses. And we’re listening to what they are telling us, helping us shape the investments we make for the future.

Take a look at our new global report – the digital CIO.