The CTO is the new CEO: ETILC & HSBC Roundtable

October 8, 2022 by No Comments

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In 2021, the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) reported that 29% of Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) expect CEO to be their next role. If you look at a similar statistic from a 2019 Korn Ferry report, only 12% CTOs said they would like CEO to be their next role. The tribe of Twitter’s Parag Agarwal is set to rise.

ETILC’s ‘Succeeding with Digital’ session in association with HSBC unpacked the nuances that digital tools can bring to an organization and how the lens through which these changes are viewed is shifting dramatically. Dr. Ganesh Natarajan, Executive Chairman and Founder, 5F World, delivered the keynote address for the event, followed by an insightful conversation with ETILC member CEOs and Akash Rekha, Chief Executive Officer, JPMorgan Chase. The discussion was moderated by Saurabh Chandra, Managing Director, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) India.

2022:The Reign of the CTO

“Something that really stuck with me from Oregon Venture Fund’s latest meeting in the US is that the advice to fast-growing firms is; just pick up the CTOs and make them CEOs. Every company today, irrespective of what sector you operate in, is a software-driven business. And that’s the reason quick and effective digital transformation is essential,” says Akash Surekha, Chief Executive Officer, JPMorgan Chase.

Today CTOs are responsible for executing digital transformation, which is no longer an IT function. For example, the purpose of the cloud is no longer just cost reduction. It enables new product development, process innovation, and dynamic customer relationships.

Tracking the Right Metrics in Digital Transformation

As per a CB Insights Report ‘Tech Shaping the Post-Covid World’, the industries leading the tech revolution are healthcare, manufacturing, customer service, finance, security, and mobility.

“Fortune 500 CEOs are laser-focused on productivity and tech transformation has to deliver on that. Nobody is keen on any investment till the results are evident. While tech effectiveness is very closely related to revenue acceleration and increase in operational margins, the implementation has to be well-thought-out; otherwise, you’ll be left with superficial change,” says Dr. Ganesh Natarajan, Executive Chairman and Founder, 5F World.

Many companies embark on digital transformation initiatives to improve productivity but often fail to achieve this goal. To be successful, companies need to focus on designing their digital transformation journeys in a way that will actually improve productivity.

Saurabh Chandra, Managing Director, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) India, says, “Digital is a ubiquitous word. If you have to reflect on the one or two aspects that will drive your business, you have to view data or platforms or security from the perspective of being the entrepreneur and the customer. We must analyze the technologies that are leapfrogging and use them correctly.”

Enabling Employees

As per a PwC report CEOs are worried about their employees’ lack of digital skills, with 76% saying they are concerned about this issue. Additionally, 23% of CEOs surveyed said they are worried about the digital skills of their top management executives.

As per a McKinsey Global Survey, most organizations have pursued a large-scale technology transformation in the past few years. While doing so, many have experienced cultural and talent gaps and weak partnerships between IT and the rest of the business. Overcoming these issues will require companies to reskill people, reboot culture, forge closer business relationships, and rigorously measure IT’s value.

On the cybersecurity front, On-demand access to ubiquitous data and information platforms is growing, hackers are using AI and ML to launch sophisticated attacks, and the shortfall in cybersecurity talent, knowledge, and expertise will only grow. The only solution for firms is constant upskilling of employees and a comprehensive plan to invest in it.

As companies look to advance their technology transformations, they can learn from how high-performing technology organizations manage talent and culture modernization with the same rigor as technology modernization, measure the business value created with technology and share it broadly.

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