IT Job Family ClassificationThe Future CIO and CTO Skill Set

CIOs and CTOs need to have the ability to cope with digital-driven disruption, companies are looking for technology leaders who can adapt the enterprise to a changing environment

To best cope with digital-driven disruption, companies are looking for technology leaders who can adapt the enterprise to a changing environment. Moving through abrupt change, the senior technology executive of the future will look more progressive than the CIO/CTO of even just a year ago. The next generation technology chief would have to have the following traits to succeed in bringing change to an organization:

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  • Be a visionary with a third eye looking at the future. It’s not sufficient for CIO/CTOs to base future patterns on past progress. The rear-view mirror is no longer helpful. Future CIO/CTOs will instead be asked to predict the future - to anticipate what’s to come and build changes into their organizations now to meet it successfully. Formerly known for being a left-brained analyzer, future CIO/CTOs will now need to incorporate that elusive, creative, right lobe.
  • Be able to adapt to constant transformations. Future CIO/CTOs will be harnessing the power of Gen Y, Millennials, Gen Z, and beyond. Anything but a traditional workforce, these new team members will be asked to do what humans do best - from creativity to discernment - as artificial intelligence and machines take on many of the more rote, analytic tasks. To transform a hybrid workforce is no easy task. But CIO/CTOs will be required to develop traditionally detail-minded analysts into big-picture thinkers and communicators who focus on a strategic future.
  • Be a driver for a network economy. Gone are the days when a company operated independently. Future-oriented CIO/CTOs know the platform-based ecosystem model is the path to success - or at least the path towards long-term success. The lines between competitor, customer, and supplier are blurring. Indeed, some organizations will function in all three capacities vis-a-vis any one company. Learning how to extract value from a networked group, rather than being able to just create it without interference is a key skill for future CIO/CTOs. Personal and organizational magnetism will be key to attracting the right network of ecosystem partners and moving into a shared future.
  • Be a role model for infrastructure management and governance. Future CIO/CTOs will need to manage risk and compliance including new perils and tasks driven by digitalization, redefine return on investment and other traditional measures of value, and rein in all technology-related roles, regardless of the titles and where they sit in the organization.
  • Be Flexible. CIO/CTOs of the future will need to responding dynamically to changing market conditions that require agile structures, systems, capabilities, processes, and teams. Using all the digital tools available, from predictive analytics to AI and robotics, technology chiefs will be coaching corporate staffs to respond in real time to constantly changing market conditions.
  • Be an implementer for custom solutions. From creating more agile back, middle, and front-office organizations to producing new business cases necessary in the new environment, technology chiefs will need to fashion business value using new methods. How do you create a business case for cloud computing or robotics? The old models will no longer suffice. Using digitalization tools, CIO/CTOs will craft value from the ground up. Very few of the old-school methods will still apply.

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The CIO/CTO will be a savvy executive creating disruption by making the best use of technology infrastructure and improving organizational ROI, all the while creating top-line growth and innovation. In today’s environment, a technology chief focused solely on specific applications cannot foster the innovation required for growth. New ideas and sources of revenue come from people.

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