Why Green Building Requires Construction Companies To Digitize

Aasawari Kakade

The global green marketplace grew to $260 billion in 2013, reflecting steady client and market demand for green construction. Between 2015 and 2023, commercial building owners and managers will invest an estimated $960 billion globally in green infrastructure. Top green construction investment priorities include retrofitting old buildings, investing in energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and upgrading plumbing fixtures and other key technologies, reports the U.S. Green Building Council.

Green construction is rapidly becoming a competitive differentiator for construction projects. From major office buildings to multi-family developments, the market for green construction remains resilient even in the face of economic challenges. Demand for residential green construction grew from $18 billion in 2009 to $48 billion in 2013, despite the economic recession. Companies and consumers are voting with their wallets: green construction is here to stay.

Construction companies that fail to meet this market demand risk being out-performed by the competition. The digitization of the construction industry creates new opportunities for innovation and improving green methods in construction.

LEED certification and greening construction

Integrating green methods into construction is an opportunity to better use available resources while creating healthier and more energy-efficient homes and buildings. This starts with LEED certification. LEED, short for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification.

For example, the use of spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation is increasing in both new and existing homes. Using SPF can help lower heating and cooling costs thanks to a significant reduction in building-envelope air leakage, according to recent studies by the U.S. Department of Energy Building America program. The biggest energy savings are achieved when homes use SPF together with energy efficient windows and doors, HVAC systems, hot water heating, major appliances, and lighting. For example, LEED-certified buildings use 25% less energy than non LEED-certified buildings, which translates to a 19% reduction in aggregate operational costs.

Industry pushing for Green Construction Code updates, compliance documentation challenges remain

In 2014, industry representatives joined together to announce new amendments to the International Green Construction Code (IgCC). The goal is to strengthen code enforcement for energy codes, proactively assess buildings for energy performance, more effectively capture energy-saving strategies (like building orientation) in codes, and empower the International Energy Conservation Code to recognize reductions in energy use at the systems level.

Representatives from across the building industry, including code officials, building owners, manufacturers, designers, and energy efficiency advocates, have come together under the leadership of the National Institute of Building Sciences to develop a new approach to meeting energy efficiency requirements.

“A new compliance path based on targeted energy outcomes in the IgCC would represent a transformative change in the building industry that may be as significant as the advent of energy codes more than 35 years ago,” said Ralph DiNola, executive director of the New Buildings Institute. “This evolution to outcome-based performance requirements recognizes that prescriptive and modeled design approaches are often not representative of the actual energy outcomes of buildings, and that current codes fail to regulate some of the most significant energy end uses in buildings today.”

DiNola accurately sums up one of the greatest challenges facing the green construction industry: despite the best efforts of the construction industry, a single, unified approach to documentation remains a challenge. New compliance regulations will create a simplified, streamlined approach to green building, but they also pose a challenge to construction companies that may not have the resources to accurately measure energy savings reductions.

The greening of the construction industry

Sustainable, “green” construction is rapidly becoming standard practice. Between 2013 and 2015, 63% of construction companies completed new green projects, and 50% completed renovation/retrofitting work, reports McGraw-Hill’s research into world green building trends. “Going green” is not just a trend for construction companies; it is a business imperative.

Green builders face challenges putting best practices into reality. New products such as low volatile organic compound (VOC) coatings, for example, may require special installation procedures in order to perform, so contractors can’t rely on tried and true methods. They must access and use current, accurate information to ensure quality installation and compliance. The same goes for the LEED standards that are driving sustainability projects. In order to achieve and document the performance levels required in LEED facilities, contractors must remain nimble. Digital construction solutions can help.

Next steps: How digitization supports green building practices

In a digital world, new business models are emerging to disrupt traditional business processes. This includes the emergence of an open talent economy that breaks people skilled in green construction methodologies together in a borderless workplace. Contractors can scale operations rapidly by sourcing experienced talent from trade workers and management via a talent network. Digital collaboration tools and networks further support this borderless workplace, empowering effective collaboration within teams and between partners and clients. This digital approach delivers real-time status updates and eliminates lost downtime waiting from materials and equipment.

SAP’s ERP core provides near real-time information and creates the backbone required for managing projects effectively and distributing the knowledge to all the stakeholders. These digital solutions are essential to helping construction companies remain nimble and adopt green building best practices.

For more insight on this new digital age of construction, see Building a Sustainable World, How to survive and thrive in a digital construction economy.


Aasawari Kakade

About Aasawari Kakade

Aasawari Kakade has over 11 years of experience working with customers in the Construction industry. Prior to joining SAP 3 years ago, she ran global marketing for another niche construction specific ERP. While at SAP, she is responsible for leading the SAP Advisory Council for EC&O industry along with many industry specific activities focused on enabling customers with the right SAP technology to support their business strategies and innovation objectives.

Three Ways Digital Transformation Is Disrupting The Metals Industry

Jennifer Scholze

The metals industry is at a crossroads. It faces decreasing global demand, trade flow disruptions, widening workforce skill gaps, and declining resource quality. These challenges have hurt profits and reduced capital investments. The metals industry is ripe for change – and digital transformation is leading the way.

Stefan Koch, global lead for metals in the mill products industry business unit at SAP, recently spoke about the future of the metals industry on the S.M.A.C. Talk Technology Podcast. Koch addressed the three major ways digitization will change the industry. Machine learning will simplify production processes and streamline operations. Virtual reality (VR) will enable virtual plant operations, creating new business models. Blockchain will enable verified material tracking for purchases like green (recycled) steel. Together, these technologies can disrupt everything from extraction to production to sales.

1. Machine learning simplifies production processes, predicts quality outcomes

“Smart machines” are not a new addition to the metals industry. The industry already relies on sensor data to monitor machine performance and maximize uptime. For most companies, however, that’s the current extent of this data utility.

“It’s still very often that you see this island of information,” says Stefan Koch on the S.M.A.C. Talk Technology Podcast. “Somebody thinks of production. Another one thinks of, “Oh yeah, that’s my customers, that’s my sales.” In the future, everything will need to go together and work together in an integrated way.”

Machine learning will allow companies to do more with their data, optimizing everything from materials sourcing to process adjustments. For example, a company could link systems across multiple operations and operators. This company could then use machine learning to either eliminate or automate redundant processes like invoicing.

Koch predicts that machine learning will also enable more advanced metal production capabilities that are cost-effective and high-value for the end customer. Presently, identical production processes may still yield slightly different finished products. These differences are due to naturally occurring material variances. Machine learning will allow companies to “look into the future” and predict quality outcomes down to the slightest variation. Producers could then pre-assign products to specific customers, delivering greater value and increasing customer satisfaction.

2. Virtual reality enables remote plant operations and value chain control

Will metal companies of the future still own physical deposits? Perhaps not, says Koch. On the S.M.A.C. Talk Technology Podcast, Koch notes that some metal companies are already moving away from asset ownership. These companies are “contracting production, resources, logistics, and materials” in a bid to control the value chain.

Consider, for example, a company that shares tasks with suppliers in other countries. This company could use virtual reality contacts to enable repair and control. The company could also use virtual reality to exchange or integrate data, boosting collaboration across the value chain.

Koch predicts that virtual reality will play an important role in streamlining remote plant operation. “These are concepts we see already picking up.”

3. Blockchain guarantees supply chain validity and authenticity

A blockchain is a tamper-proof distributed ledger that maintains a historical record of all data. Since this record is independent of a central authority, it is inherently resilient. Algorithms enable continuous verification and validity calibration. Data can be signed, timestamped, and immutably recorded in the blockchain. Blockchain can then provide essential transaction validation and purity verification, guaranteeing authenticity.

Koch predicts the metal industry will use blockchain to “provide faster and more rapid ways to authenticate materials.” In the recycling industry, for example, not all parties involved communicate with one another every day. The lack of a closed loop supply chain creates authentication challenges. In fact, Koch characterizes the current metal recycling supply chain as “a pretty random list of partners who interact on a long timeframe.” Blockchain solves this challenge by providing an immutable authenticity guarantee at each step.

Why the future of metals depends on digital transformation

Digitization is more than using predictive maintenance to maximize machine uptime. It’s about disrupting outdated processes and creating new business models.

The World Economic Forum predicts that, by 2025, digital transformation will create more than $425 billion of value for the mining and metals industry. Companies that embrace digital transformation will be best positioned to capitalize on this value creation.

To learn more about how digital transformation is disrupting the metals industry, listen to the S.M.A.C. Talk Technology Podcast with Stefan Koch. Learn how to bring new technologies and services together to power digital transformation by downloading The IoT Imperative for Energy and Natural Resource Companies.


Jennifer Scholze

About Jennifer Scholze

Jennifer Scholze is the Global Lead for Industry Marketing for the Mill Products and Mining Industries at SAP. She has over 20 years of technology marketing, communications and venture capital experience and lives in the Boston area with her husband and two children.

Can CIOs or CTOs Accept the New Role of Innovation or Transformation Agent?

Mukesh Gupta

CIO and CTO discuss new roleRecently, Dan Burrus wrote a couple of blog post for Harvard Business Review, where he expects that CIOs and CTOs to embrace new roles within their organizations. He expects and the CIOs should embrace the role of chief innovation officer and CTOs to embrace the role of chief transformation officer.

I do agree that this is an unprecedented opportunity, the current times requires organization to find ways to foster innovation, I don’t agree that every organization needs to start on a transformation journey. There are industries that are currently at the cusp of major transformations (Print media, automotive, retail). Organizations in these industries will need to re-invent themselves so that they continue to stay relevant in the new age. However, I don’t believe that this transformation will be led by the CTO. Nor do I believe that CIOs will lead the innovation efforts of the organization.

Though we would expect the CIOs and the CTOs to understand, advocate and embrace the technological revolution  is happening (ever increasing bandwidth, connectedness, processing power and storage; 3D printing; the maker movement; and Big Data and its impact (SoLoMo), mostly it is not the case.

My experience with the  CIOs and CT’s is very different and while they understand all of these changes happening all around them, most of them have not been able to connect them all back to their businesses. Most of these executives have risen to their roles from within their departments. This also means that their knowledge about their entire business is not as much as you would need in order to be able to take up such a role.

This has also been the reason that there are not many CIOs or CTOs that have gone on to become CEOs or enter the board rooms.

Also, in my opinion, Innovation is not something that you can drive from one office and succeed. Innovation needs to be everybody’s business. You need to create a culture where you expect people to keep exploring new things, challenging the assumptions behind standard operating procedures, etc. This can’t be one man’s responsibility. The moment you appoint a Chief Innovation Officer, that becomes his baby, which then kills the spirit of innovation.

Similarly, business transformation responsibility lies with the CEO. He is supposed to understand the business in its entirety. The moment this becomes someone else’s responsibility, the result of the transformation effort will be a disaster waiting to happen. This is also the reason so many of the transformation efforts fail.

The role of the CIO or the CTO should be to constantly keep exploring what is happening outside of the organization. Identify potential technological breakthroughs, newer business models that new technology can enable,  that can have an impact on their business (both good or bad)  and bring it back to the organization.

Another role that a CIO or the CTO can play is one of glue. They are probably the only team in an organization that touches & connects every department within the organization. What happens if they go one step further and become the people who break silos within the organization. This does require them to develop new skills like networking, understanding of the different facets of the business,  different perspectives of the people within each department and thereby the ability to find the common ground. All this can help them be the glue that keeps everyone connected and the hammer that breaks the silos whenever they creep up.

I don’t see them leading Innovation or transformation efforts anytime soon. However, they can be the spark that ignite the people to take one the journey.

Do you think that CIOs and CTOs will take up the chief innovation officer and chief transformation officer roles anytime soon? Why? Do share your thoughts by commenting below.


Kevin Jinks

About Kevin Jinks

Kevin Jinks is Vice President & Partner / Industrial Sector SAP Leader for IBM Global Business Services. With more than 22 years of IT consulting and client management experience, he has extensive knowledge in ERP systems, architectural design, system development and implementation management for major clients globally.

Can CIOs or CTOs Accept the New Role of Innovation or Transformation Agent?

Mukesh Gupta

CIO and CTO discuss new roleRecently, Dan Burrus wrote a couple of blog post for Harvard Business Review, where he expects that CIOs and CTOs to embrace new roles within their organizations. He expects and the CIOs should embrace the role of chief innovation officer and CTOs to embrace the role of chief transformation officer.

I do agree that this is an unprecedented opportunity, the current times requires organization to find ways to foster innovation, I don’t agree that every organization needs to start on a transformation journey. There are industries that are currently at the cusp of major transformations (Print media, automotive, retail). Organizations in these industries will need to re-invent themselves so that they continue to stay relevant in the new age. However, I don’t believe that this transformation will be led by the CTO. Nor do I believe that CIOs will lead the innovation efforts of the organization.

Though we would expect the CIOs and the CTOs to understand, advocate and embrace the technological revolution  is happening (ever increasing bandwidth, connectedness, processing power and storage; 3D printing; the maker movement; and Big Data and its impact (SoLoMo), mostly it is not the case.

My experience with the  CIOs and CT’s is very different and while they understand all of these changes happening all around them, most of them have not been able to connect them all back to their businesses. Most of these executives have risen to their roles from within their departments. This also means that their knowledge about their entire business is not as much as you would need in order to be able to take up such a role.

This has also been the reason that there are not many CIOs or CTOs that have gone on to become CEOs or enter the board rooms.

Also, in my opinion, Innovation is not something that you can drive from one office and succeed. Innovation needs to be everybody’s business. You need to create a culture where you expect people to keep exploring new things, challenging the assumptions behind standard operating procedures, etc. This can’t be one man’s responsibility. The moment you appoint a Chief Innovation Officer, that becomes his baby, which then kills the spirit of innovation.

Similarly, business transformation responsibility lies with the CEO. He is supposed to understand the business in its entirety. The moment this becomes someone else’s responsibility, the result of the transformation effort will be a disaster waiting to happen. This is also the reason so many of the transformation efforts fail.

The role of the CIO or the CTO should be to constantly keep exploring what is happening outside of the organization. Identify potential technological breakthroughs, newer business models that new technology can enable,  that can have an impact on their business (both good or bad)  and bring it back to the organization.

Another role that a CIO or the CTO can play is one of glue. They are probably the only team in an organization that touches & connects every department within the organization. What happens if they go one step further and become the people who break silos within the organization. This does require them to develop new skills like networking, understanding of the different facets of the business,  different perspectives of the people within each department and thereby the ability to find the common ground. All this can help them be the glue that keeps everyone connected and the hammer that breaks the silos whenever they creep up.

I don’t see them leading Innovation or transformation efforts anytime soon. However, they can be the spark that ignite the people to take one the journey.

Do you think that CIOs and CTOs will take up the chief innovation officer and chief transformation officer roles anytime soon? Why? Do share your thoughts by commenting below.


Anton Kroger

About Anton Kroger

Anton Kroger is an Energy and Natural Resources industry solution specialist for SAP based in Australia. Anton has worked in the resources sector for 16 years and has field operations and management experience, both locally in Australia and internationally. He now works with Energy and Natural resources companies across Australia and New Zealand to help them run better, more innovatively and imagine new ways of doing business. He is an advocate for clean energy and resources and believes that innovation is critical to the future of this industry. Anton believes that despite the disruption taking place in the industry today there is still a lot of opportunity for existing companies in the future.

Can CIOs or CTOs Accept the New Role of Innovation or Transformation Agent?

Mukesh Gupta

CIO and CTO discuss new roleRecently, Dan Burrus wrote a couple of blog post for Harvard Business Review, where he expects that CIOs and CTOs to embrace new roles within their organizations. He expects and the CIOs should embrace the role of chief innovation officer and CTOs to embrace the role of chief transformation officer.

I do agree that this is an unprecedented opportunity, the current times requires organization to find ways to foster innovation, I don’t agree that every organization needs to start on a transformation journey. There are industries that are currently at the cusp of major transformations (Print media, automotive, retail). Organizations in these industries will need to re-invent themselves so that they continue to stay relevant in the new age. However, I don’t believe that this transformation will be led by the CTO. Nor do I believe that CIOs will lead the innovation efforts of the organization.

Though we would expect the CIOs and the CTOs to understand, advocate and embrace the technological revolution  is happening (ever increasing bandwidth, connectedness, processing power and storage; 3D printing; the maker movement; and Big Data and its impact (SoLoMo), mostly it is not the case.

My experience with the  CIOs and CT’s is very different and while they understand all of these changes happening all around them, most of them have not been able to connect them all back to their businesses. Most of these executives have risen to their roles from within their departments. This also means that their knowledge about their entire business is not as much as you would need in order to be able to take up such a role.

This has also been the reason that there are not many CIOs or CTOs that have gone on to become CEOs or enter the board rooms.

Also, in my opinion, Innovation is not something that you can drive from one office and succeed. Innovation needs to be everybody’s business. You need to create a culture where you expect people to keep exploring new things, challenging the assumptions behind standard operating procedures, etc. This can’t be one man’s responsibility. The moment you appoint a Chief Innovation Officer, that becomes his baby, which then kills the spirit of innovation.

Similarly, business transformation responsibility lies with the CEO. He is supposed to understand the business in its entirety. The moment this becomes someone else’s responsibility, the result of the transformation effort will be a disaster waiting to happen. This is also the reason so many of the transformation efforts fail.

The role of the CIO or the CTO should be to constantly keep exploring what is happening outside of the organization. Identify potential technological breakthroughs, newer business models that new technology can enable,  that can have an impact on their business (both good or bad)  and bring it back to the organization.

Another role that a CIO or the CTO can play is one of glue. They are probably the only team in an organization that touches & connects every department within the organization. What happens if they go one step further and become the people who break silos within the organization. This does require them to develop new skills like networking, understanding of the different facets of the business,  different perspectives of the people within each department and thereby the ability to find the common ground. All this can help them be the glue that keeps everyone connected and the hammer that breaks the silos whenever they creep up.

I don’t see them leading Innovation or transformation efforts anytime soon. However, they can be the spark that ignite the people to take one the journey.

Do you think that CIOs and CTOs will take up the chief innovation officer and chief transformation officer roles anytime soon? Why? Do share your thoughts by commenting below.


Paul Dandurand

About Paul Dandurand

Paul Dandurand is the founder and CEO of PieMatrix, a visual project management application company. Paul has a background in starting and growing companies. Prior to PieMatrix, he was co-founder of FocusFrame, where he wore multiple hats, including those of co-president and director. He helped position FocusFrame as the market leader with process methodology differentiation. FocusFrame was sold to Hexaware in 2006. Previously, he was a management consulting manager at Ernst & Young (now Capgemini) in San Francisco and Siebel Systems in Amsterdam. Paul enjoys photography, skiing, and watching independent films. He earned a B.A. degree in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley.

Can CIOs or CTOs Accept the New Role of Innovation or Transformation Agent?

Mukesh Gupta

CIO and CTO discuss new roleRecently, Dan Burrus wrote a couple of blog post for Harvard Business Review, where he expects that CIOs and CTOs to embrace new roles within their organizations. He expects and the CIOs should embrace the role of chief innovation officer and CTOs to embrace the role of chief transformation officer.

I do agree that this is an unprecedented opportunity, the current times requires organization to find ways to foster innovation, I don’t agree that every organization needs to start on a transformation journey. There are industries that are currently at the cusp of major transformations (Print media, automotive, retail). Organizations in these industries will need to re-invent themselves so that they continue to stay relevant in the new age. However, I don’t believe that this transformation will be led by the CTO. Nor do I believe that CIOs will lead the innovation efforts of the organization.

Though we would expect the CIOs and the CTOs to understand, advocate and embrace the technological revolution  is happening (ever increasing bandwidth, connectedness, processing power and storage; 3D printing; the maker movement; and Big Data and its impact (SoLoMo), mostly it is not the case.

My experience with the  CIOs and CT’s is very different and while they understand all of these changes happening all around them, most of them have not been able to connect them all back to their businesses. Most of these executives have risen to their roles from within their departments. This also means that their knowledge about their entire business is not as much as you would need in order to be able to take up such a role.

This has also been the reason that there are not many CIOs or CTOs that have gone on to become CEOs or enter the board rooms.

Also, in my opinion, Innovation is not something that you can drive from one office and succeed. Innovation needs to be everybody’s business. You need to create a culture where you expect people to keep exploring new things, challenging the assumptions behind standard operating procedures, etc. This can’t be one man’s responsibility. The moment you appoint a Chief Innovation Officer, that becomes his baby, which then kills the spirit of innovation.

Similarly, business transformation responsibility lies with the CEO. He is supposed to understand the business in its entirety. The moment this becomes someone else’s responsibility, the result of the transformation effort will be a disaster waiting to happen. This is also the reason so many of the transformation efforts fail.

The role of the CIO or the CTO should be to constantly keep exploring what is happening outside of the organization. Identify potential technological breakthroughs, newer business models that new technology can enable,  that can have an impact on their business (both good or bad)  and bring it back to the organization.

Another role that a CIO or the CTO can play is one of glue. They are probably the only team in an organization that touches & connects every department within the organization. What happens if they go one step further and become the people who break silos within the organization. This does require them to develop new skills like networking, understanding of the different facets of the business,  different perspectives of the people within each department and thereby the ability to find the common ground. All this can help them be the glue that keeps everyone connected and the hammer that breaks the silos whenever they creep up.

I don’t see them leading Innovation or transformation efforts anytime soon. However, they can be the spark that ignite the people to take one the journey.

Do you think that CIOs and CTOs will take up the chief innovation officer and chief transformation officer roles anytime soon? Why? Do share your thoughts by commenting below.


Markus Steer

About Markus Steer

Markus Steer is an advisor with SAP & experienced leader for Digital Transformation to connect people, things and businesses to run the world better. He helps CEOs and Biz leaders to define their vision and leverage digital trends to transform their company. He provides guidance to CTOs and Enterprise Architects on end-to-end architecture design. Connect with Markus at www.linkedin.com/in/markus-steer-90b2b02a/.

Can CIOs or CTOs Accept the New Role of Innovation or Transformation Agent?

Mukesh Gupta

CIO and CTO discuss new roleRecently, Dan Burrus wrote a couple of blog post for Harvard Business Review, where he expects that CIOs and CTOs to embrace new roles within their organizations. He expects and the CIOs should embrace the role of chief innovation officer and CTOs to embrace the role of chief transformation officer.

I do agree that this is an unprecedented opportunity, the current times requires organization to find ways to foster innovation, I don’t agree that every organization needs to start on a transformation journey. There are industries that are currently at the cusp of major transformations (Print media, automotive, retail). Organizations in these industries will need to re-invent themselves so that they continue to stay relevant in the new age. However, I don’t believe that this transformation will be led by the CTO. Nor do I believe that CIOs will lead the innovation efforts of the organization.

Though we would expect the CIOs and the CTOs to understand, advocate and embrace the technological revolution  is happening (ever increasing bandwidth, connectedness, processing power and storage; 3D printing; the maker movement; and Big Data and its impact (SoLoMo), mostly it is not the case.

My experience with the  CIOs and CT’s is very different and while they understand all of these changes happening all around them, most of them have not been able to connect them all back to their businesses. Most of these executives have risen to their roles from within their departments. This also means that their knowledge about their entire business is not as much as you would need in order to be able to take up such a role.

This has also been the reason that there are not many CIOs or CTOs that have gone on to become CEOs or enter the board rooms.

Also, in my opinion, Innovation is not something that you can drive from one office and succeed. Innovation needs to be everybody’s business. You need to create a culture where you expect people to keep exploring new things, challenging the assumptions behind standard operating procedures, etc. This can’t be one man’s responsibility. The moment you appoint a Chief Innovation Officer, that becomes his baby, which then kills the spirit of innovation.

Similarly, business transformation responsibility lies with the CEO. He is supposed to understand the business in its entirety. The moment this becomes someone else’s responsibility, the result of the transformation effort will be a disaster waiting to happen. This is also the reason so many of the transformation efforts fail.

The role of the CIO or the CTO should be to constantly keep exploring what is happening outside of the organization. Identify potential technological breakthroughs, newer business models that new technology can enable,  that can have an impact on their business (both good or bad)  and bring it back to the organization.

Another role that a CIO or the CTO can play is one of glue. They are probably the only team in an organization that touches & connects every department within the organization. What happens if they go one step further and become the people who break silos within the organization. This does require them to develop new skills like networking, understanding of the different facets of the business,  different perspectives of the people within each department and thereby the ability to find the common ground. All this can help them be the glue that keeps everyone connected and the hammer that breaks the silos whenever they creep up.

I don’t see them leading Innovation or transformation efforts anytime soon. However, they can be the spark that ignite the people to take one the journey.

Do you think that CIOs and CTOs will take up the chief innovation officer and chief transformation officer roles anytime soon? Why? Do share your thoughts by commenting below.


Thierry Audas

About Thierry Audas

Thierry Audas is a senior director of Product Marketing with SAP and focuses on business intelligence and analytics. He works with SAP customers to help them better understand how SAP solutions help organizations to transform all their data, the foundation of a digital enterprise, into insight to drive innovation and create business value. Thierry has more than 20 years of experience in the BI and analytics field and has held various senior roles in presales, consulting, and product management.

Can CIOs or CTOs Accept the New Role of Innovation or Transformation Agent?

Mukesh Gupta

CIO and CTO discuss new roleRecently, Dan Burrus wrote a couple of blog post for Harvard Business Review, where he expects that CIOs and CTOs to embrace new roles within their organizations. He expects and the CIOs should embrace the role of chief innovation officer and CTOs to embrace the role of chief transformation officer.

I do agree that this is an unprecedented opportunity, the current times requires organization to find ways to foster innovation, I don’t agree that every organization needs to start on a transformation journey. There are industries that are currently at the cusp of major transformations (Print media, automotive, retail). Organizations in these industries will need to re-invent themselves so that they continue to stay relevant in the new age. However, I don’t believe that this transformation will be led by the CTO. Nor do I believe that CIOs will lead the innovation efforts of the organization.

Though we would expect the CIOs and the CTOs to understand, advocate and embrace the technological revolution  is happening (ever increasing bandwidth, connectedness, processing power and storage; 3D printing; the maker movement; and Big Data and its impact (SoLoMo), mostly it is not the case.

My experience with the  CIOs and CT’s is very different and while they understand all of these changes happening all around them, most of them have not been able to connect them all back to their businesses. Most of these executives have risen to their roles from within their departments. This also means that their knowledge about their entire business is not as much as you would need in order to be able to take up such a role.

This has also been the reason that there are not many CIOs or CTOs that have gone on to become CEOs or enter the board rooms.

Also, in my opinion, Innovation is not something that you can drive from one office and succeed. Innovation needs to be everybody’s business. You need to create a culture where you expect people to keep exploring new things, challenging the assumptions behind standard operating procedures, etc. This can’t be one man’s responsibility. The moment you appoint a Chief Innovation Officer, that becomes his baby, which then kills the spirit of innovation.

Similarly, business transformation responsibility lies with the CEO. He is supposed to understand the business in its entirety. The moment this becomes someone else’s responsibility, the result of the transformation effort will be a disaster waiting to happen. This is also the reason so many of the transformation efforts fail.

The role of the CIO or the CTO should be to constantly keep exploring what is happening outside of the organization. Identify potential technological breakthroughs, newer business models that new technology can enable,  that can have an impact on their business (both good or bad)  and bring it back to the organization.

Another role that a CIO or the CTO can play is one of glue. They are probably the only team in an organization that touches & connects every department within the organization. What happens if they go one step further and become the people who break silos within the organization. This does require them to develop new skills like networking, understanding of the different facets of the business,  different perspectives of the people within each department and thereby the ability to find the common ground. All this can help them be the glue that keeps everyone connected and the hammer that breaks the silos whenever they creep up.

I don’t see them leading Innovation or transformation efforts anytime soon. However, they can be the spark that ignite the people to take one the journey.

Do you think that CIOs and CTOs will take up the chief innovation officer and chief transformation officer roles anytime soon? Why? Do share your thoughts by commenting below.


Karen McDermott

About Karen McDermott

Karen McDermott is Global Head of Financial Services Industries Marketing and Communications at SAP, responsible for driving the growth of SAP's value proposition as a technology provider, trusted business partner, and thought leader for the financial services industry.