How CIOs Can Use Mobile And Custom Development To Rediscover Innovation

Quick question: what is the #1 job of a CIO? Hmm, good question, eh? Although this should really be part of the definition of information technology, I’m pretty sure that we could sit around and debate just exactly what is the #1 job of a CIO all day; however, I’m also pretty sure that we could agree that bringing innovation into the business has to be one of the top jobs of both the CIO and the entire IT department. Now the big question is just exactly how should we go about doing this?
Mobile + Customers = Innovation
The arrival of customers with mobile devices poses a challenge for companies. All of a sudden your customers are showing up equipped with a powerful computing device that can provide them with a mobile offers today constant flow of information about not only your company’s products, but also competitors and changing market conditions.
How a firm decides to deal with mobile-equipped customers may be a decision that the CIO has to lead. If you realize that you can’t prevent customers from using their mobile phones, then you are going to have to find ways to leverage their phones to make interacting with your company a positive experience.
CIOs can make this happen in a number of different ways. The simplest is to provide customers with WiFi connectivity while they are at company locations. Another way is to provide customers with mobile devices while they are onsite so that you can transform them into marketing machines for the company.
Say Hello To Custom Development (Again)
The past 10 years or so could have been said to have been the era of packaged software applications. Companies would choose one of the big three company-wide management applications and then, as needed, would implement another module in order to add functionality to the firm.
Those days are rapidly going away. The arrival of cloud computing and an increase in the competitive situation that more and more companies are finding themselves in has changed everything. Going forward companies are going to need more custom application development.
This is going to pose a challenge for CIOs. In far too many IT shops, the ability to create high-quality custom applications has gone by the wayside. CIOs are going to have to outsource this development while at the same time building internal skill sets so that custom projects can be turned around quickly and provide the rest of the company with the competitive advantage that they are looking for.
What All Of This Means For You
Every business looks to their IT department to lead the way when it comes to evaluating new technologies that have shown up in the IT sector. New and innovative ideas can come from these types of evaluations and so the CIO needs to make sure that he or she is out in front leading the charge.
CIOs need to understand that mobile technologies have become a part of their customer’s lives. What this means is that their customers will be using their mobile devices when they interact with the company. How that interaction works out is up to the CIO. Additionally, having the applications that can make use of new technologies such as cloud computing will require custom development. Gone are the days of just buying another module for a large packaged app. Now the CIO is going to have to develop their own team of custom developers.
Yes, the life of a CIO is busy. However, making the time to do the proper evaluation of new technologies is a critical part of the job and is key to the importance of information technology. Do this task right, and you will have shown the entire IT department how to remind the rest of the company just how valuable IT really is.