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This blog is a collaboration between Angelo Mazzocco, CIO, Central Ohio Primary Care and Co-Founding Organizer of the CIO Tomorrow Conference, and Maureen Metcalf, CEO, Metcalf & Associates and host of the Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations radio program.

The world is changing dramatically, and technology is leading this global transition. As technology leaders, you will be distinguished by your ability anticipate trends and recommend changes that leverage them before your competition does. This proactive ability to read what is happening and turn it into a competitive advantage is rare and highly valuable to companies.

“Former Intel Chairman Andy Grove said that an inflection point, ‘occurs where the old strategic picture dissolves and gives way to the new.’ This seems to be happening with disconcerting regularity. Every day, contemporary executives confront a series of inflection points – situations in which received wisdom is no longer adequate or appropriate for the task at hand. Francois Hollande became the president of France on the promise of being “Mr. Normal.” His record-settingly low popularity suggests that, at least in France, there is no place for normal, as The New York Times put it. That may be true everywhere. Here’s the thing: Great leaders are able to imagine and hence control what is on the other side of the inflection point.” Thorton May, Innovative Leaders Guide to Implementing Analytics Programs

One of the most common questions Maureen hears from technology leaders is: with all of the changes, how can I manage the deluge of information, identify the critical elements and stay current? To figure this out, she interviewed Angelo about his thoughts on his personal development to understand what shaped his thinking when he invited high-profile keynote speakers to the upcoming CIO Tomorrow conference. The event, held in Columbus, Ohio, has attracted national participation. Her questions to Angelo were:  What trends are you following? What would you recommend the broader CIO community focus on? What are you focusing on, yourself, and how are you sharing it with conference attendees and the CIO group you facilitate?

Angelo believes it is all about preparing for the disruptive pressures many of us are already feeling – which will continue at an accelerating pace. As effective technology leaders, it is incumbent upon us to identify the disruptions facing our specific industry, as well as those in adjacent industries that will spill over into ours. Two of the hottest, most disruptive topics are:

1. Cloud-based computing providing opportunities to disrupt – many organizations have resisted moving to the cloud because of data privacy and security, but companies that differentiate themselves by being technology leaders will identify creative cloud-based solutions that move them ahead of their less visionary competitors. Applications offered as a service make them more cost-effective and free IT budgets to generate value in more creative ways. Uber is a hugely disruptive example. It is a computer company offering transportation services, rather than a transportation company like a cab company. If your company were to shift to a technology-driven company, what would it look like? What vision could you set to change the landscape of your industry?

2. Cybersecurity – when we think of recent cybersecurity breaches, two names come to mind: Sony and WikiLeaks. Releasing data is one side of security risk; the other is intruding into a system to do harm. Intruders take many different avenues, and for different reasons. Protecting organizations (public and private) has never been more important than now, when intrusions have such pervasive impact and can be executed from anywhere in the world. What parts of your organization are vulnerable to intrusion from either internal or external sources? What do you need to do to address this? Over what timeframe?
Of all the topics technology leaders are considering, these are among the top two that Angelo talks about. Others include how technology leaders partner with their business colleagues in industries that have not yet leveraged technology as a strategic advantage, and how those leaders continue to build the most effective organizations to attract top talent and continually adapt their processes.

One way to significantly enhance your knowledge on these topics – along with many of the top CIOs in the region – is to attend the CIO Tomorrow conference to hear and interact with thought leaders as we explore the changing norms in people, process and technologies in today’s disruptive landscape.

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