Digital Business Transformation Starts With The CIO

There is no better time than now for chief information officers (CIOs) to champion and lead digital business transformation. Successful adoption of mobility, social networking, cloud computing, and data analytics will require IT organizations to be agile, responsive and forward looking, while sustaining operational excellence. Led by the CIO, IT organizations must also actively cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship and customer centricity. To achieve business relevance, IT organizations must train as marathoners (able to deliver long-term, complex and difficult projects) and sprinters (deliver quick wins, on time and on budget) – Gartner refers to this as bimodal IT.

Adobe Systems has been going through a massive business transformation, from the traditional world of shrink wrap product software to a service and SaaS subscription base model company – one of the reasons why Gerri Martin-Flickinger chose to join Adobe seven and a half years ago as CIO. Today, half of Adobe’s revenue comes through subscription services models as opposed to product purchase models.

Gerri Martin-Flickinger (Twitter: @GMFlickinger) Senior Vice President and CIO – Adobe

Martin-Flickinger has been a CIO for three high tech companies, McAfee, VeriSign and now Adobe and likes to think of herself as a “career CIO”. As a lead technologist within the company, Martin-Flickinger gives an eye-opening view from the IT perspective of what it’s like when a company makes the transition from pure desktop to cloud. Having successfully shifted the conversation regarding IT from cost to value, she offers practical advice for how to elevate IT from help desk to a business partner that is enabling products and accelerating marketing and sales as organizations make the shift from providing on-premise to cloud products.

6 tips for elevating IT from cost center to a value center:

1. Moving the conversation from cost to value is a journey – Depending on the size, age, industry and go-to-market strategy of your company, it may take IT professionals years to move the conversation away from cost to value. “I think I would be remiss if I didn’t say it’s a journey for everyone everywhere. So don’t be disheartened if it’s a journey that’s taken you years. I’ll be completely candid, in seven and a half years I’ve been through many phases of many of those transitions and sometimes you circle back,” says Martin-Flickinger.

One of the biggest challenges for IT in a company that is more than 30 years old and built by software engineers has been getting to the table and to a place of mutual participation with the engineering community. Martin-Flickinger shares a couple of thoughts about ways to make that happen, “First of all you don’t mandate that kind of change, it’s something that you do in combination of letting the people get to know each other and then proving that…

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