New Age CIO


CIOs now must be more flexable and business focused

Today's business environment is pressuring CIOs to step beyond systems and solutions and address business needs on a more holistic basis. Here are some essential qualities of an effective CIO:

  • Communication -- More CIOs could excel at communication and collaboration. It's critical to understand overarching business needs, trends and challenges—and to foster interaction across departments, functions and roles. This means learning to speak the language of HR, finance, marketing, operations and legal. It also means connecting to the board of directors and workers on the front lines of the business.
  • Focus on Business Before Technology -- IT does not run the business; rather, it enables business processes. Too often, CIOs are so focused on keeping the lights on and the motor running that they lose sight of what's really important: customers. Building relationships across the enterprise is essential. Fully understanding business needs is paramount. Taking a proactive stance toward business-IT solutions that work in the real world is mission critical.
  • Be open to all sides of the business -- Well-designed processes and IT systems can ensure that everyone remains on track… and different constituencies receive immediate feedback about performance. The CIO is at the center of this crucial task.
  • Embrace Innovation -- "CIO" should mean Chief Innovation Officer while "IT" more accurately maps to the term "Innovation Technology. " The ability to move swiftly and adopt flexible solutions—particularly centering on cloud computing and SaaS-based models—can determine whether a company succeeds—or drowns in a sea of red ink.
  • Seek knowledge and skills -- No one person can know all and do all. Big data, clouds, mobility, social collaboration, security and other initiatives require different types of expertise and skill sets than in times past. Although the need to manage IT systems hasn't gone away, this new world of information technology requires a CIO who can hire and develop the right combination of knowledge and skills.
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