The region’s most influential ICT leaders recently gathered in Nairobi for the third annual installment of International Data Corporation’s East Africa CIO Summit.

With more than 100 CIOs, technology decision makers, and government advisors in attendance, the event examined the latest trends shaping tech adoption across the region and stressed the need for CIOs to take on a leadership position in their organisations’ digital strategies.

In the buildup to the highly regarded event, a senior delegation from IDC met with Joseph Mucheru, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for the Ministry of Information, Communications, and Technology, to discuss the current state of digital literacy in Kenya and share insights into the growth and development of ICT across the wider region.

Following these discussions, the East Africa CIO Summit was officially inaugurated with a speech from Matunda Nyanchama, a Senior Advisor to Kenya’s ICT Authority and Ministry of Information, Communication, and Technology.

Running under the theme of ‘Leading Your Organisation’s Digital Transformation’, the Summit saw a series of expert speakers explain how a hugely disruptive digital revolution is sweeping across East Africa.

Together, they stressed the need for the region’s end-user community to infuse a culture of innovation, integration, and incorporation into the very fabric of their organisations in order to not just survive but thrive in the new digital economy.

“For those of us responsible for enterprise technology, the emergence of this digital revolution brings with it challenges and opportunities in equal measure,” said Jyoti Lalchandani IDC’s Group Vice President and Regional Managing Director for the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.

“Successful leaders are judged by their ability to effect change, and in this new digital world, change will be driven by a leader’s ability to manage the three connected disciplines of innovation, integration, and incorporation. These three disciplines underpin IDC’s new ‘Leading in 3D’ model for business success and represent the critical competencies required to drive true digital transformation across the entire scale and breadth of the modern enterprise.”

Mark Walker, IDC’s associate vice president for Sub-Saharan Africa, broadened the discussion by stressing the need for greater collaboration between CIOs and their finance counterparts in order to smooth the journey to a state of true digital transformation.

“As business transformation strategists and guardians of the balance sheet, CFOs have long been champions of new ICT technologies that open up new market opportunities, minimise operational expenditure, and facilitate improved risk mitigation practices,” said Walker.

“As such, they should be seen as important allies in the quest for digital transformation, particularly at a time when the demand to facilitate greater levels of innovation through technology investment must be balanced against the growing need to rationalize costs.”

The event’s agenda built on this theme, with respected industry thought leaders examining the changing role of the CIO and offering advice to the assembled ICT leaders on taking a leadership position within their organisation’s digital transformation journeys, enabling comprehensive connected security, and driving innovation through the use of converged infrastructure.

They also detailed strategies for securing enterprise data through the use of hosting and co-location services, and helped paint a clearer picture of the foundations that must be in place to ensure a smooth transition to the 3rd Platform.