When someone achieves the role of CIO, it usually represents many years of study, many years’ experience in the industry and the acquisition of specific skills. This experience must be used in the most effective manner. Focused on technology.
So much is written about CIOs needing to change the way they work, their focus and their need to expand their capabilities. Does the CFO or the COO also need to do that, maybe adding IT to their skill set? Many commentators predict the demise of the CIO if they don’t broaden their horizons and keep focusing on IT projects.
The commentary mentions leadership skills but if a CIO doesn’t have these already, should they be in the C-Suite? Business strategy is another attribute but who is to say the CIO doesn’t have that either, particularly if they take notice and contribute in executive meetings. Marketing skills? If there is a CMO, why should the CIO need these skills, other than a broad knowledge?
Having questioned the prevailing commentary, there are attributes which the CIO or any other C-Suite executive must have for an organisation to be successful.
Leadership. Mandatory for any senior position. Someone in a senior position who is not able to lead a team is doomed to failure. A CIO needs to have a team which is flexible and agile, with team members who are innovative in the use of technology, not just maintaining it. A CIO should know how to spread the technology message throughout an organisation simply and succinctly, ditch the jargon.
Business nous. No-one can work in isolation anymore, silos are out. To be effective the CIO must know and understand the business goals and the strategy to achieve them, this will only be achieved by regular communication with colleagues across the board. This doesn’t require an MBA, common sense, asking questions and listening will work. Knowing the challenges, issues and goals of one’s colleagues will inevitably shape the goals of IT. Using technology to achieve the business outcomes should be a core focus of the IT group, so yes, this is a focus on IT projects.
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