The new cio

The New CIO: 7 Priorities to Focus on in the Coming Years

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In the past few years, there has been a paradigm shift in the role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO). To keep up with the fast-paced digital landscape, the new CIO must rethink their role and the role of IT.

This digital shift is being driven not by the amount of technology in use, but by the amount of data in use and the need to use real-time, business-critical intelligence and decision-making.


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As a result, many organizations will grapple with the implications of these digital changes, which can affect everything from business strategy to employee training to the role of IT in the organization.

In this post, we’ll explore several of these implications and what they mean for CIOs and the future of the IT department.

The New CIO: Things to Know About the Future of IT and the CIO’s Role

In the past few decades, technology has revolutionized the way we conduct business

For instance, in traditional data centers, information is centralized and managed at one location. With the rise of technologies such as cloud computing, though, this model is gradually being replaced. 

This, of course, is only one of many examples that shows why IT – and, as a result, CIOs – must be able to adapt.

In this article, we will discuss the current trends of CIOs and how to stay relevant in this ever-changing world. 

1. IT’s role is becoming more central to the entire organization

In a world where technology is becoming increasingly central to everything we do – and where the ability to use that technology plays such a crucial role in economic success – IT’s role is moving from being a back-office function to a competitive differentiator.

Therefore, CIOs, as research firms such as Gartner have pointed out, need to focus not only on maintaining IT services, but also on driving business outcomes.

2. The CIO must become a transformational leader

To lead digital transformation, CIOs must become business strategists and transformational leaders.

Among other things, this will involve championing new technology, such as cloud computing, the Internet of Things, advanced analytics, machine learning, and other cutting-edge technologies. 

But CIOs must go beyond advocating for new tools.

They are being called upon to lead IT initiatives more frequently than ever before. To stay relevant and competitive, therefore, CIOs must be ready to lead organizational change.

3. Digital transformation requires support from the whole organization

Many companies have the aspiration to transform their digital capability, but many fall short of the mark. There are several reasons for that failure, one of which is a lack of buy-in.

To overcome resistance and inertia, it’s essential for CIOs to have a clear IT strategy and to have support from all stakeholders, including the board, the CEO, and the workforce. 

4. CIOs must expand their own skill set to stay relevant

The vast majority of chief information officers (CIOs) are tasked with managing technology. This isn’t a bad thing, but it does mean that CIOs don’t often have a lot of skills in other areas.

However, while many CEOs would like to see their CIOs take on more responsibilities, not all CIOs have the right mix of business skills, people skills, and IT skills.

CIOs who want to stay relevant and valuable, therefore, should consider expanding their training to include other areas, such as leadership and development, digital adoption training, and change management.

5. The CIO must become the C-suite’s tech advisor

Technology is changing at an extraordinary rate, and chief information officers (CIO) need to make the transition from being technology stewards to being technology advisors. 

Most C-suite executives, after all, aren’t IT experts and therefore need CIOs to educate them on new technology.

Among other things, for instance, CIOs must:

  • Convey the potential business value of emerging technology
  • Explore costs and ROI
  • Outline risks and opportunities

In short, CIOs must collaborate closely with LOB executives to navigate today’s fast-changing digital landscape.

6. Digital transformation is a journey, not a destination

The benefits of going digital are obvious: you can reach more customers, lower your costs, and be more agile, among other things. 

Yet it’s also commonly assumed that you can reach a state of “full” digital maturity

Not so – there is no such thing as “full” digital maturity. Instead, there is only continuous improvement.

The CIO’s job, therefore, is never done. 

CIOs and other business leaders must always be adapting and improving their skill set and their responsibilities.

7. Digital innovation is a survival trait, not just an advantage

Almost every industry is being disrupted by digital, and that is not going to change anytime soon. 

In fact, the pace of change is accelerating. To keep up, organizations must be fast, agile, and innovative – and IT must be the force that enables these capabilities.

Key Takeaways

Digital transformation is reshaping the modern organization, changing everything from business models to operations to organizational culture.

This massive shift in the business landscape is also affecting the role of the CIO.

Once solely an IT operations manager, the new CIO is now a strategist who must work closely with other members of the C-suite.

Yet to deliver on their new responsibilities, CIOs must be willing to embrace this new role, learn new skills, and actively redefine their role in the organization.

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