Delivering IT solutions to business problems
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No longer tasked with automating back-office functions to reduce headcount, today’s CIO needs to use cutting-edge technology to drive innovation and competitiveness.
Building strong support
Organisations need robust, cost-efficient and secure IT solutions and systems, but today’s CIO should have a right-hand man or woman – usually the IT manager or IT director – who takes care of such matters. This means recruiting the right person for the job, mentoring them and building a strong, trusting relationship. To achieve this, the CIO needs a variety of soft skills, such as emotional intelligence, empathy, good judgement and the ability to get out of someone’s way and let them do their job.
Driving innovation within the business
The CIO has to challenge the executive team’s expectations and encourage them, and the rest of the organisation, to see the IT department as a technology consultancy focused on innovation within the business. The CIO and his team can provide an informed, business-focused view of how IT solutions can be used to better support existing functions, and leverage emerging technologies to change the way they do business.
Pioneering change management
While innovation should be encouraged, not everyone embraces change immediately, so the CIO needs to be a change leader. Again, being an effective instigator and leader of change management doesn’t require hard-core technology skills. It requires emotional intelligence, the ability to identify and nurture ‘change champions’ at various levels and consistent communication across the business.
The CIO also needs to be flexible enough to fit in with the shifting needs and demands of the business, and to accept that good ideas can come from anywhere. CIOs need to balance business needs against the tidal flow of opportunity – and risks – offered by innovative ideas and new disruptive technologies. Instead of getting involved in the nuts and bolts of software design and installation, CIOs are now analysing competing cloud services for data security, availability and responsiveness.
Bridging the gap
Not only does today’s CIO need to have an intimate knowledge of the business and its technology, but they also need to bridge the gap between the two and identify how IT solutions can be used to drive innovation and increase sales, rather than just boost productivity
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