“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change,” Charles Darwin observed in explaining his theory of evolution.
Today the role of the CIO is rapidly evolving, especially in the biopharmaceutical industry, and CIOs must recognize and adapt to these changes. The CIO’s role has shifted from technologist to business partner and change agent. This is mainly driven by technology advancements and their adoption by the business, the pace at which the industry is changing, and increasing competition. For the foreseeable future this shift is expected to continue, thus it is important to understand how these factors impact the role of the CIO and IT as a whole for the biopharmaceutical industry.
The New Age CIO must make the shift from technologist to business partner. It’s no longer just about delivering technology but understanding the business process and delivering business solutions. As IT leaders, CIO needs to ensure that the IT organization is led by business and not driven by technology. This can be done through organization design, processes and governance. The CIO and the IT leadership must be more active in connecting to the business, ensuring that the IT strategy is tightly aligned to the business strategy. This shift from technologist to business partner will ensure the proper IT focus and result in delivering the greatest business value.
Unlike other industries which have shown flat to modest business growth, the biopharmaceutical industry has had strong growth in the past 10 years, often in double digits. This has resulted in the willingness by the business to invest in IT, providing they are getting business value. The CIO still needs to be a good steward of the company operational expenses, but at the same time, show where the proper investments can contribute to the required business growth.