5 Roles for IT Innovators

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What is IT’s role in innovation? Is it just about making IT better or is it about driving business value too? We asked 592 business and IT leaders in the US and UK this question in our latest Diamond Digital IQ survey by asking them to choose what innovation role they thought their CIO and IT organization played from the following list:

  1. Improve the IT Function
  2. Improve Business Processes
  3. Improve Customer Service
  4. Reach New Customers
  5. Create New Products/Services

Over three-quarters of our respondents said their CIOs primary innovation role is to improve business processes or IT. So, the vast majority of the innovation work we do is focused on internal improvements. It makes sense that IT focuses on areas it has the most influence and control over its own processes and the business processes it automates. However, as the CIO desires to improve ITs business impact, she strives to have IT drive value too.

Most of the conversations I have with CIO’s are, however, about how to bring new technology-fueled business ideas to the table. Are these desires just wishful thinking or are they really in-line with the role the CEO and business leaders want IT to take on? I don’t know the answer but I suspect that the explicit conversation on IT’s role in innovation doesn’t happen too often.

Just for fun, I uploaded the survey results into Tableau Public, a very powerful (and free) data visualization tool. My colleague Amaresh Tipathy introduced me to it and uses it for one of his latest posts on FEMA disaster data analysis. Enjoy exploring this data and let me know what you think.

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