Chapter 1Basics and Essentials

Burberry's transformation did not start with the CIO (see Figure 1.1). It started with the CEO and the board asking questions. This chapter will give you the vocabulary to ask the questions and understand the answers.

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Figure 1.1 The Case of Burberry

A couple of qualifiers:

  1. Not everything discussed will be relevant for you, but you should understand all the concepts. If you don't know that a technology exists and what it can do, how will you know when to consider it?
  2. Many technologists thrive on being opaque. They use overly complicated words. Do not let unfamiliar words stop you from understanding.
  3. Your IT leaders are setting strategy with the tactical decisions they make every day. Your company may have to live with those decisions for a long time, and they may dramatically limit the options that you have. You need to set the direction, so the tactical decisions are aligned and enabling.

A capable director does not need an in-depth understanding of every new technology or trend. In fact, the pace of change makes it impossible for even technology leaders to stay abreast of every new concept. You can achieve an appropriate working knowledge by understanding four key dynamics that influence technology, and by periodically recalibrating your view of the implications for your business.

A simple model shows the core dimensions to basically understand, ...

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