March 02, 2009, 9:24 AM — If your company is reinventing itself, IT plays a role. But CEOs set the agenda for change, says Innosight Chairman Mark Johnson.
How well do CIOs understand IT as an enabler of new business models?
I don't know that they would look at it holistically-whether IT could simultaneously change a bunch of functions and reach a new customer in a different way. The most important thing when thinking about new business models is to identify jobs for customers that aren't getting done. The CIO needs to work with the head of marketing or business development who says, I think we have an opportunity to address this market.
Is it a good time to consider a new business model?
If the current business is driving growth, the pursuit of new growth through business model innovation should be modest and opportunity driven. But waiting until your business is suffering and then saying, "We're going to reinvent ourselves," will make pulling off business model innovation extremely tough.
Do you see a disconnect between CEOs and CIOs?
I do. CIOs, by their job description, tend to be more inside-out: How do I better enable the organization? If you asked a CIO or a CEO, "What's your business model?" you may get different answers. But I don't think CEOs have thought about the role of the CIO in business model reinvention. There has to be a strategic input to say we can use IT to create new opportunities.