The Rise of the Chief Information Officer

The Rise of the Chief Information OfficerThe Rise of the Chief Information Officer

The Washington Post, September 22, 2015


  • CIO is shifting from a doomed title meaning “Career Is Over” or “Glorified Director of IT” to one of the key advisers on enterprisewide, internal and external strategies—and it’s made finding good CIOs challenging!
  • Today’s CIOs require both business and technology mindsets (emphasis on business) and the supporting skill sets to dabble as strategists, marketers, brainstormers, and tech wizs as situations demand.
  • Modern CIOs also need to hone management and business skills to become well-versed in proving their ideas are good for everyone in the company, consumers and the bottom line.
  • Strong working relationships between CIOs, CEOs and CFOs position organizations to outperform their peers on important metrics such as profit and revenue.
  • Liberal Arts majors are pouring into the tech field at a faster rate than technology majors: technical skills are important, but communication is even more so for emerging tech leaders.

Our Point of View:

  • CIOs are held responsible for the IT solutions selected by an enterprise. To decide effectively, he or she must understand how the solutions they pursue enhance their enterprise’s initiatives, enable or improve existing processes, and execute strategies that are key to attaining organizational goals.
  • For CIOs to “prove” an idea is a good one, they need to understand the needs of the other stakeholders in their organization, and find the ‘right’ solutions considering their organizational constraints, priorities and requirements. Designing an effective governance model to engage stakeholders will be the key determinant of a CIO’s success.
  • Toolsets can help CIOs get problems “down on paper” and focus stakeholders on the specifics that matter. Because toolsets can illustrate different points of view
    simultaneously, they remove false choices among stakeholder perspectives, and create a shared frame for communication.
  • CIOs should expect their strategic IT vendors to understand and align within their governance model. Managing vendor relationships is no longer their full time job, and creating a process to manage relationships is critical to freeing time for the new activities and responsibilities the job demands.
  • Forward acting CIOs are deploying decision-making standards (Mind-set, Skill-set, Tool-set) to successfully enable enterprise-wide IT governance AND strategic IT vendor management.

pdfThe Rise of the Chief Information Officer

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