Jim Steinlage, President & CEO of Choice Solutions,
If the research is correct (we’re certain it is), CIOs are expected to “drive new revenue and lead critical, cross-functional efforts when it’s time to transform a process or business model.” As digital technology increasingly transforms industries across the board, it’s just one more indication of how the role of a CIO is changing and growing in importance.
From Operation to Orchestration
As organizations maintain their steady march to complete digitalization, the CIO’s job description continues to evolve. Once a job that focused on operating IT, it’s now a strategic position that works hand-in-hand with the rest of your business.
So, what does it take for today’s CIO to succeed? While the job will always require strong tech know-how, a strategic vision and ability to manage change are what will move a CIO from bottom-line to top-line professional.
Here are just four key skills CIOs must develop if they want to be seen as drivers of business innovation and opportunity.
- Become a true information officer. CIOs have traditionally been viewed as the “plumbers” of IT. They knew how to get data pipes connecting, helping their organization avoid backlogs, slow leaks, data loss, or security breaches. A CIOs new role is playing a greater role in what to do with all the data, helping to determine how it can be used to take a business forward and how to tie in new sources of information to make better, faster, decisions.
- Expanded social intelligence. CIOs who want to influence stakeholders, attract and motivate talent, and drive corporate vision must learn how to build strong relationships and establish credibility by consistently aligning IT investments across business functions. It also means understanding how to create a culture that top talent is attracted to and inspired by. And they need to become proficient in articulating a comprehensive vision of what tech can achieve for the organization.
- Exploit creative solutions. Forward-thinking CIOs work alongside their colleagues to determine how to apply technology to the best possible advantage within their organization. As a result, a shift will occur from technical proficiency to business awareness and analysis.
- Broader business knowledge. CIOs have always focused on information security, but today they must be able to help board members understand security needs and strategy. They need to learn to speak the “languages” of business and finance, not just tech.
The Bottom Line: Vision and Innovation
CIOs are now positioned at the heart of modern organizations. As their role evolves, the good news is that they already possess a skill most others in your company do not: a view across the entire organization. That gives a CIO a significant advantage in the ever-expanding digital journey that lies ahead.
Rather than immersing her or himself in the data center trying to improve existing technology, a CIO’s future role will now be much more about exploiting new business models and digital opportunities. Those who can successfully navigate this new environment are the ones who will achieve personal and corporate level success.