3 Books Every CIO Must Read!

Every CIO and tech leader is likely to be journeying towards a digital transformation at some point in their career and with so many sources of advice, it can be difficult to know what best to listen to and take on board.

I caught up with ANS’ CTO, Andy Barrow to pick his brains on his top 3 recommended books for tech leaders. These fascinating books, written by leading tech titans will walk you through organisational psychology and innovation, while others offer a straight analysis of leadership styles and techniques. Either way, they’re sure to provide food for thought, or perhaps even change your whole approach to digital transformation.

  1. The Phoenix Project

In business today, we not only have to accept change, we have to embrace it and drive it. If you’ve ever had to deal with changing demands and challenges when running major projects, then the Phoenix project is sure to resonate with you.

If you work in the technology sector in particular, there’s a lot you can learn from the Phoenix Project about how to enhance your IT tools and processes to achieve business success.

The book follows the story of an IT manager, Bill, who suddenly finds himself promoted into a senior role at a fictional American company ‘Parts Unlimited’.

Reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bill has 90 days to fix an over-budget, failing initiative code-named The Phoenix Project. If Bill fails in his quest to deliver the project, the CEO will outsource his entire IT department!

There are many different industry perspectives on what DevOps means. ‘The Phoenix Project’ takes a broad view of DevOps. It shows how DevOps is used as a way to integrate IT into the business rather than being a function that runs alongside it.

Bill’s journey is one of figuring out how to improve communication and effectiveness across the IT organisation so that it is no longer viewed as an under-performing cost to the business. This drive to transform IT from being a ‘business-burden’ to a ‘business-enabler’, is a scenario the vast majority of Chief Information Officers (CIO) and Chief Technology Officers (CTO) can relate to.

2. Lean Enterprise: How high-performance organisations innovate at scale

Today, the pace of change in market conditions, customer demands and emerging technologies is phenomenal. Organisations are expected to keep up or risk being overtaken by the competition.

Lean Enterprise takes a top-to-bottom view of creating a high-performing tech company. It’s absolutely jam packed with information and solutions to problems that many organisations, doing agile software development, struggle with in other parts of their organisation. Better yet they offer many examples of companies who are doing it right, proving that it is not just theory and that it can be done in many ways. They also include loads of great stories from a range of industries demonstrating how different approaches can still exhibit the lean attitude and culture that is so essential to success.

If you’re a generalist with a keen interest in broadening your learning outside of your field of expertise and you’d like to understand the wider business context and beyond, there will be loads in this book to get you excited, from leadership, management and business process to engineering, product development and psychology.

3. Digital Transformation at Scale: why the Strategy is Delivery

The internet has completely changed the world from our personal lives to the way businesses are run. But many organisations today were founded before the birth of the world wide web and are struggling to keep up with the pace of change despite investing in IT, marketing and ‘innovation’.

Digital Transformation at Scale has been written to help organisations build a true digital institution. It explains how a growing band of reformers in businesses and governments around the world have helped their organisations pivot to this new way of working and outlines what lessons others can learn from their experience.

The book, written by a former government official, Andrew Greenway, was based on Andrew’s experience of designing and helping the UK Government’s Digital Service.

This book was only published in spring this year, so you may not have come across it yet but it’s definitely worth getting your hands on. But don’t just take my word for it, the Australian Prime Minister, Malcom Turnbull, has descried the book as ‘important’ and ‘timely’. He adds, “dealing with governments online should be as easy as ordering from Amazon. The UK model – acting like a start-up rather than a traditional government agency – is one from which all big organisations should learn.”

If you’d like to get your hands on one of the books mentioned above, click the titles to purchase them directly from amazon.

Happy reading!

Innovation Hub

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