Changing Hats the Norm for Today’s CIOs


By David Abbou - Apr-16-2015

Technology hasn’t just changed the way consumers purchase and engage with products and services, it’s also profoundly changed both the skill set and mindset required from many different management and executive roles in order for them to be effective and collectively lead their organization towards a successful future. Of these roles, perhaps no executive has experienced more change in recent years than the Chief Information Officer (CIO).

CIOs today are expected to be as in tune with the business vision and goals of their organizations as they are with the information and technology they manage. And there’s also a very critical and strategic cultural component to driving changes to business process as and how these are accepted and utilized by an organization’s business and operations management. Therefore the CIO is expected to wear many strategic hats and bridging these once disparate and now very interconnected worlds will likely spell the difference between success and failure moving forward. For CIOs to make sure they end up on the right side of this equation, the key is outlining and focusing on their top strategic priorities:

1. Use technology to transform and manage business processes

This transformation of the CIO’s role isn’t a new phenomenon but the evolution is fully expected to continue and accelerate into the future. CIO recently published its State of the CIO: 2015 survey findings and they reveal that the percentage of CIOs of large businesses focused on strategic business activities has climbed from 18 to 34 percent in the past five years. These business processes include traditionally taking physical processes online as well combining customer online behavior with physical customer service and support functions. Making sure that the customer experience is the focal point of these new digital business processes is paramount if they are to be adopted and ultimately succeed.

2. Turn data into more innovative products and services

Just as enterprises have come to prioritize data as the most valuable asset that must be secured, so too is turning this data into value in the form innovation. With more CIOs than ever before advising the CEO on long-term strategy and holding a seat at Executive Management Committees, turning technological know-how into shareholder returns now comes with the territory. CIOs must lead the way in creating and monetizing new products and service offerings based on collected data.

3. Integrate actionable Business Intelligence into staff operations

Use the same approach of turning data analytics to unlock customer calls to action with your employees and not just for management. Front-line sales and customer service staff should be armed with the type of data to increase efficiency and improve customer experience and satisfaction. One major area of focus is and must continue to be app provisioning, be it CRM, ERP and enterprise-centric apps that make it easy to save time and money as well as provide and provide a more seamless experience for customers.

With all of the challenges CIO’s will face in 2015 and beyond, it’s clear that organizations still regard them as leaders with the vision to see past the hurdles and help keep the business on the right track well into the future.