While business leaders in companies of every size and industry continue to look for ways to reduce costs and increase operational efficiency, their priorities have shifted. Today the emphasis is on top-line growth and on innovation as the means to achieve it.
Business leaders know that sustained competitive advantage lies ahead for those who can rise above the status quo and seize opportunities to differentiate themselves from a growing field of competitors. They also recognize that for innovation to drive profitable growth over the long term, it cannot be a random event. Rather, innovation must be an ongoing process that is tightly woven into the cultural fabric of the organization, crossing all disciplines and encouraged at every level.
IBM's Global CEO Study 2006 was conducted to understand how CEOs view innovation, to capture their current insights and to learn what is on their innovation agendas. It explored how these business executives are enabling innovation and where they are focusing their innovative energies. The study results contain important messages for all business leaders but should be of particular interest to CIOs, who have long been counted on to support and enable corporate innovation efforts.
The study indicates that CEOs are expanding the innovation horizon beyond the traditional focus and believe that business model innovation is imperative for long-term competitive advantage and growth. Key to unlocking these growth opportunities is an innovative culture that spans the entire organization and eliminates the infamous gap in alignment between business and information technology (IT). The majority of the CEOs interviewed for the study cited business and technology integration as essential to building such an innovative organization. And while CEOs acknowledge primary responsibility for fostering innovation, they are looking to their CIOs to execute their innovation agenda by successfully meshing IT's technological know-how with business intelligence and market insights. To this end, CIOs must be business executives first and technologists second as they lead the organization in applying technology to drive innovation.
Igniting innovation through business and IT fusion
The Global CEO Study indicates that CEOs will continue to rely on their IT leadership to drive innovation initiatives. This paper, "Igniting innovation through business and IT fusion," shows how the fusion of business and IT can help companies capitalize on their innovation potential. It discusses the current state of business and technology integration and suggests leadership actions that CIOs can take to further business and technology integration initiatives in their own organization.
CIO implications of
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