An undeniable aspect of the new Internet of Things marketplace is that leadership is crucial to reaching success. Not only do new and existing companies have to create something unique and useful, but they have to do so in a market where growth and success are volatile and unpredictable. Even the traditional winners - Nike, Sony, Samsung - have to reconsider and relaunch constantly.
Traditional product teams will no longer cut it - the new team needs cutting edge technology and electronics experience, time in the new market, and an innovative approach.
Enter the CIOTO
The time is here for businesses to proactively seek leadership that can not only lead the technology team, but also support business forecasting and weather a nearly random market. This is a role that you need: the CIOTO.
Others in this space see the CIOTO position as a natural outcropping of what IT has done well over the past decade—become a business partner, with enterprise-wide, strategy enabling abilities.
Many, like CIO James Brown of Crayola, disagree for good reason. In an article published in ComputerWorld, Brown shared that he “doesn't see the need for a new position." Why?
"For a long time we [IT departments] have been asked to be engaged in the business," said Brown, "I think this is an opportunity for IT to take a leadership role."
The question for your organization is: can your existing IT leadership team embrace a full spectrum technology and business awareness role, or do you need a new expert?
How to Find the Right Fit
What do I think a CIOTO looks like? I think the CIOTO has to have mastery in four major areas:
1. Architecture Strategy Smarts – if your “in-house” systems are not in order, it doesn’t matter how many “things” you are trying to smarten up for your customers. Even B2B IOT developers must take note—even though we know much of this revolution will happen in the cloud, their strategy must mirror solid, architectural mandates, including layered security and governance policies. As you know, the IOT provides millions of nodes for hackers to target. An ideal CIOTO should have a good grasp of IT security and a background in following good governance practices. Otherwise, the projects he leads will be too slapdash to sustain- at best. At worst, he will leave you open to security snafus that will hit your bottom line-hard.
2. Great CRM and/or Sales/Marketing Savvy - The most profitable IOT leaders must know how to run the customer-facing facets of the IOT. The multi-nationals use Chief Data Officers and Chief Digital Marketing Officers to ensure these activities shine. Your CIOTO needs many of the same skills. The biggest of big data lives in these customer records—the kinds of data that can give your company a competitive edge.
3. Product Development “Chops” - Your CIOTO must know how to navigate the R&D waters. Or you need to enable her with a solid, executive-board level mentor early on to get her up to speed. Most IT leaders understand the use of new and “upgraded” products and how to roll them out. Few recognize the specific challenges of taking a product to lifecycle—and beyond. In this day and age, many companies in the IOT space aren’t even going to production while they’re selling their ideas to VCs. You need a practical, experienced leader to manage the innovations inherent in IOT.
4. Enterprise-Wide, Project Management Muscle – If you haven’t run a huge project for a company of comparable size, with all of the politics, roadblocks, silos and, um, nonsense that goes with it, you can’t get an IOT project started, let alone sustain a number of these projects across different functional areas, get them in on time, and show a stunning ROI. You. Just. Can’t. Your CIOTO must be a project management superstar – better yet, a portfolio management superstar used to guiding enterprise-wide, strategy-specific ideas to fruition.
This person is not a fictional character, but seeking an expert in all four traits is difficult. Yet, I know several individuals that would not only fit the bill, but also truly empower your IOT efforts to realize all of the benefits this exciting movement promises. Chief Internet of Transformation Officer, anyone?
The article was written by Bill McCabe/ Internet of Things Recruiting - Executive Search/ Retained Search for the Internet of Things/ Machine 2 Machine/ Big Data Markets. Candidates he places are among the top 5% in their field and are top producers for their new companies. Bill loves what he does and takes infinite pride in putting together the right candidate with the right company. He has been applauded and lauded as one of the top fifty Twitter influencers in IoT, landing at number 17. Named an BM IOT Futurist at IBM INterconnect as well as IOT Emerge in Chicago in Sept 2016. The original form of the article can be accessed on LinkedIn.