scorecardFive occasions when a CIO needs to function like a business head
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Five occasions when a CIO needs to function like a business head

Five occasions when a CIO needs to function like a business head
Tech4 min read
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  • A CIO must be a skilled businessperson in addition to being informed and savvy in the technology field.
  • Successful CIOs must strike a balance between an organization's goals and objectives and ensure that their people are supported, inspired, happy, and successful.
  • CIOs are expected to be decision-makers and leaders and foresee problems.

For years, leaders have emphasized the importance of CIOs moving beyond managing existing IT to utilizing technology to create business value. This priority has now turned into a mandate. Despite this critical requirement, according to McKinsey's 2018 IT strategy survey, 79% of firms that had sought digitalization, are in the initial stages of their technology transformation.


CIOs understand that they must be chief executives, but the business knowledge they must bring to the table is constantly changing. The management principles and long-standing executive talents, for example, remain permanent must-haves. However, based on available data and facts, there is a list of issues that rise to the top and become dominant. But the role of the CIOs is increasingly under focus.


Back in 2011, only one in five CIOs ranked themselves as a critical enabler of business/organization vision. CIOs are not only entrusted with directing technical projects in today's environment, but they are also important, valuable actors at the level of the organization ladder. In fact, as per another report, 78% of IT heads feel that the role of CIOs has got elevated due to the pandemic.


A CIO must be a skilled businessperson in addition to being an expert in the technology field. Successful CIOs must strike a balance between their organization's goals and objectives and ensure that their people are supported, inspired, happy and successful. CIOs are expected to be decision-makers and foresee problems.

Effective communicator


When CIOs communicate the importance of IT and its business value to all non-technical staff, they effectively turn into business heads. They lead the tech revolution in the company, emphasizing the need for other non-technical stakeholders to collaborate. Communication with different departments in the organization is much easier when the CIO and the rest of the squad are transparent.

Customer centricity


IT and the CIO will remain the executor of the plan rather than the shapers unless they commit to a better understanding of the customer. In fact, just around half of the technology executives say their companies have been successful in driving the architecture of e-commerce and customer experience. The further IT is removed from the client, the less it can comprehend what customers appreciate and what role technology should play in providing that value. That is not how tech firms work. CIOs need to step in and ensure bridging the gap between IT and the customers.

Decoding the data game


Given the criticality of data, a CIO needs to be familiar with each step of the data gathering process in order to better lead his or her team and ensure that it is optimally collated, cleaned, structured, and analyzed.


While it is critical for CIOs to be willing to take chances, they must also be able to use data to determine how dangerous a move will be. Data accomplishes nothing on its own; it requires people skilled in analyzing it to derive useful insights that can help to craft smart strategies.

Emotional intelligence


Emotional intelligence, once deemed a soft skill, is now front and center in talks about successful leadership. Emotional intelligence is now far more significant than it was a decade earlier in a CIO's toolkit. It is just as crucial to demonstrate a business leader’s competence in this capacity, as it is to showcase technological or business knowledge.

Turn security to strength


CIOs must modernize security procedures in order to improve prevention and resilience. This transformation can be best facilitated by approaching security with a development perspective instead of a compliance mindset.


One method is to use a DevSecOps working paradigm, in which security is embedded into each phase of an agile product cycle instead of being a test at the end. CIOs can harden security even more by adopting a "security as code" strategy, which specifies cybersecurity guidelines and rules and then implements them as code via architecture and automation.


Today's CIOs must wear numerous hats and are no longer exclusively focused on technology. A successful CIO must have a business sense in addition to handling and optimizing IT teams. This includes streamlining procedures and keeping on top of new technological advances to improve the customer experience.


They must also be consistent and honest communicators, understanding the peculiarities of their teams while transmitting the data to and from the rest of the organization simply and succinctly. To move their organization forward, every CIO must both foresee and welcome change. The successful CIO will also be the driver of that change.



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