IT director as salmon in the boardroom
Of course, we all know salmon is a tasty fish that is prominently featured on the menus of many restaurants. The association with an IT director comes to mind for far fewer people. Yet salmon and the IT director share an important similarity.
Salmon are known as goal-oriented fish, going through hoops to reach their goal of spawning high in river springs. Through intricate routes, against the current, salmon secure their future each year.
Purposefully going against the current is something the IT director and salmon have in common. In many companies, IT, digitalization and data are seen as ‘office automation’. Making sure ‘the internet works’, making sure ‘you can log in’, making sure ‘the access passes work’ and at best ‘making sure the customer database is up to date’ and that ‘the webshop is up and running’.
IT and digitalization are rarely seen as strategically important, and certainly not as so essential that a board seat is allocated to IT/Digitalization. ‘First make sure that everything works …’. The IT director swims against the current with their vision and investment plans.
This is a strange situation because IT has been ubiquitous from a business management perspective for decades. Every business unit has to deal with it. From logistics to manufacturing, from HR to sales & marketing and from finance to legal, they all use computers, tablets and mobile phones. On these devices there is software that makes their work easier, better and more fun.
The importance of IT
From a commercial perspective, IT has been important for a long time. An efficient, well-automated operation leads to lower costs and more competitive pricing. Reliable and relevant data on all fronts leads to targeted marketing, predictable market movements, customer and employee management and more.
Flawless operational and integral IT is indispensable, but just as important is a multi-year strategy on IT and digitalization. Of course, we all have an idea of what needs to improve tomorrow: aligning systems, efficiency, cloud-based, SaaS and a few more buzzwords. All are nice concepts, but they are optimization strokes and it’s all about the bigger end goal.
What really matters is what’s at the top of the river. In the world of salmon, that’s its future, namely spawning grounds. In the world of the real IT visionaries, that’s augmented and virtual reality, digital-mobility, the real global village, fully transparent real-time insightful business processes and much more. And quantum computing that makes all that possible.
It is important to know that digitalization and digital transformation are not just about tomorrow or next year, but a combination. After all, salmon must swim up the right river tomorrow, but it does so because of its ambitious vista, the spawning grounds that make the journey there worthwhile. A visionary salmon therefore does not belong on, but at the table in the boardroom!
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