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CIOs Execute Strategy

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John Clarke | SVP & CIO | Nokia

The role of senior management is to articulate and define the strategy, and then to convert the strategy into action and results. There is hardly anything, if at all, that can now be done without technology. The role of the CIO at the senior table is not necessarily that of a technologist. It’s actually as the chief execution officer—another CEO, as such—working at how to execute the strategy. Because that execution today is generally 100 percent reliant on technology or processes, which are usually the two things the CIO is accountable for, as in my case. I’m there, in fact, to work out how we go about executing the strategy, and what the examples of that are. One example of that was, now a few years ago, when I first joined Nokia, I believed strongly—and I still do—that we needed to have greater insight into what the consumer or the customer needs. We could do that through being far more analytical of the data we have. How do we capture the information? How do we change all our systems, in terms of how they gather information in a consistent manner? How do we collect it together? How do we then provide the analytical competencies to do something with it? How do we use that data to drive out a new decision-making process within the company? Rather than looking at the number of physical sold devices—which we still do—we look at activation rates. We look at what users are doing and all the clickstream analysis as well. We’ve broadened our kind of operational metrics, and that helps us make better decisions. My role there is to help them articulate what we need to do with our information to execute upon our strategy. That has become now our top priority program in the company. It’s an execution program about consumer insight and analytics. That’s all come about because basically my role there was to help the board understand how we go about getting greater consumer insight. My key lesson there was, when you sit at the table with senior management, don’t do that with a technologist’s perspective. You’re there thinking as an executor. Your job is to execute the strategy, not to be the technologist. Think about, “How do we execute what is being agreed or proposed?”

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