Given that virtually every company is reworking its business model for a digital era, we thought it is time to understand what CIOs believe is important to succeed in a digital economy and what separates CIOs of top-performing firms from their bottom-performing competitors.
In late 2015, MIT CISR surveyed over four hundred CIOs globally to understand the opportunities and challenges they face in a digital economy.[foot]MIT CISR 2015 CIO Digital Disruption Survey, N=413. Top (Bottom) Performers are top (bottom) 25% on Net Margin, self-reported and adjusted for industry by subtracting the industry average.[/foot] Although we found much agreement among the CIOs on the opportunities and challenges, we also found strong divergence in the focus and key practices of CIOs in top-performing versus bottom-performing firms. CIOs from virtually all the firms recognize the threat from digital disruption. The CIOs of top-performing firms—firms with net margins in the top quartile relative to their industry average—operate differently in four areas. Top performers:
- Spend more time with external customers
- Obsessively focus on innovation
- Are deeply engaged with their executive committees
- Open up their systems for internal and external use