In a world where businesses and markets continue to be disrupted, business as usual doesn’t cut it anymore. In order to stand out in the market, companies need to differentiate their value propositions and make it easier for customers to do business with them.

Uber is a great example of this. In addition to enabling users to book a ride by tapping their smartphones, the ride-hailing service has also begun rolling out LED light strips on driver’s windshields to help riders identify their pickups.

To compete in a business environment where change is constant, business leaders need to be agile and open to new ideas. They also must be willing to let go of traditional business practices and processes, recognizing that new approaches to serving customers and delivering value are needed in a landscape where customer expectations continue to rise.

For CIOs, this means being prepared not only to identify opportunities for improving customer experiences but also demonstrating a willingness to challenge the status quo when necessary. In some instances, this may require confronting business leaders on long-held business practices and philosophies they don’t appear ready to relinquish.

One way to do this tactfully without coming across as confrontational is through data-driven storytelling. This may include sharing an anecdote about a company that has used technology, processes, and fresh thinking to disrupt an industry and strengthening the example by supporting it with figures on how the company was able to gain market share, increase revenue and profit, etc.

Data can be leveraged in other ways to challenge conventional wisdom. One of the benefits of gathering and analyzing real-time data about customers and market dynamics is how it can alert business leaders to changes in customer behaviors and attitudes or market shifts that they may not have been aware of. Making such insights available to the C-suite and line of business leaders can enable the CIO to help organizational leaders recognize opportunities for new products or services.

For instance, nearly every automobile manufacturer is investing in connected cars. Yet few auto companies have the networking infrastructure in place to build an end-to-end solution. This is creating enormous opportunities for communications and technology companies to step in and fill the void by offering a range of services and capabilities to serve this emerging market.

 Eighty-eight percent of the companies that were in the Fortune 500 in 1955 are either no longer in business or have fallen from view. In today’s changing markets, the CIO needs to step up and be an active leader in business transformation.

“Being a disruptor is all around having the courage to ask tough questions,” says Jan Marshall, VP & CIO at Cubic Corporation in an HMG Strategy video.  “Be prepared and listen to the answers and take action with your business partners to make the business better.”

Key Takeaways

  • To help the business succeed in a disruptive landscape, CIOs must demonstrate a willingness to challenge the status quo when necessary.
  • One way to challenge the status quo without coming across as confrontational is through data-driven storytelling. This may include sharing a story about a company that has disrupted an industry and then supporting the tale with facts and figures about how the company was able to gain market share, increase revenue, etc.
  • Data discovery can also help business leaders to see for themselves how customer behaviors or market dynamics are changing and to seize untapped market opportunities.