Using Technology as a Tool to Create Competitive Advantage

Qiniso Langeni, CIO, Denel Dynamics
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Qiniso Langeni, CIO, Denel Dynamics

Qiniso Langeni, CIO, Denel Dynamics

Challenges and wish list for 2014

Today, billions of devices are connected to the internet, and the bulk of those are computers, phones, and tablets.  If I were to write a wish list, it would be to incorporate the Internet of Things to devices infused with intelligence and sensors that securely sends out vast streams of data to meet the needs of the enterprise.The more we enjoy connectivity, the more we become vulnerable.  The cyber security space needs more soldiers to keep up with enemy forces.

"Incorporate the Internet of Things to devices infused with intelligence and sensors that securely sends out vast streams of data"

Enterprise Business Systems: Major area of concern

The stagnant nature of Enterprise Business Systems.  I wish they could be light weight, agile and fit for purpose.

Mobile: Hottest trend in Aerospace

Especially in Africa, where the mobile device is often the main–if not the only- digital channel, mobile innovation continues to occur at a fast rate.  The potential for mobile technologies in enterprises as well as government and public services remain endless, whether it’s in the area of process improvement or rolling out new and innovative services.  Most importantly, though, a key area where mobile delivery models could prove truly transformative is education.  In light of the widely bemoaned skills shortage, this is an area where greater collaboration between public and private sector organizations could deliver great benefits to society, and help make countries more competitive.  In fact my doctoral dissertation speaks to the topic.

The role of CIOs

TodayThe leading question is very correct in that the role of the CIO changes, depending on the organization, industry and environmental factors.The role of Chief Information Officer (CIO) is riddled with ambiguity.  Most organizations have problems with understanding their IT investments and the questionable return they believe they are achieving.  Generally, the CIO is held responsible for these disappointments.  Increased business reliance on IT embedded in products, processes, and decisions has been a catalyst for better understanding of the role of the CIO.  In my organization, it has been an uphill battle to get the role to be accepted as a peer at the executive table.  However, it is still a challenge to be seen as an equal who should participate in the execution of business strategy and not just as the “IT guy”.

Advice to fellow CIOs

My advice for CIOs is that they need to move away from trying to be IT managers and shift towards being business technology strategists.  They must be part of the strategic influence that contributes to the firm’s performance.  As IT becomes ever more ubiquitous and is increasingly seen as an integral part of ongoing business success, CIO roles and responsibilities continue to evolve, more CIOs should also become business technology strategists—strategic business leaders who use technology as the core tool to create competitive advantage.

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