In the executive offices at many companies, there is coming to fruition an important change in importance and perception of a once public-facing role: the Chief Information Officer (CIO). As this role continually evolves, information needs to engage the organization and lead strategically into the future. Learn the evolution and strategic importance of the modern Chief Information Officer below.
The Evolution of the CIO
The chief information officer role historically has been a tactical one. When it emerged in the early 1980s, the title, like the IT function more generally, was tied to accounting and finance—no surprise given that IT’s claim to fame in the early days revolved around automating the general ledger and other financial systems. CIOs most often reported to chief financial officers.
Today, with CIOs increasingly reporting directly to the CEOs and expected to execute imperatives company-wide, strategic excellence has replaced tactical smarts as a job requirement. With a higher-profile come more challenges. The fact that IT must bring to life the strategic imperatives of all other divisions of the company means that a lack of strategic clarity from those divisions can adversely affect the CIO and his or her team. As the CIO continually becomes more important to the strategy of an organization, current and aspiring CIOs will need to take the following steps to maintain credibility and implement a world-class IT strategy:
- Identify an IT Mission: Create a departmental strategy with 5-10 years in mind, planning for adoption and control.
- Engage with and Prove Importance to the Organization: Create a framework that includes the opinions and aspirations of other business units. Once a simple framework has been filled out for each of the other leaders, and it has been validated with them, the IT team can brainstorm project ideas to bring to life each of these plans, and, more powerfully, it can suggest where there are common needs across the organization that might be addressed with common (as opposed to a series of one-off) solutions.
- Create an IT Strategy: Once the other plans are developed, IT should have a better sense of what should make up its own plans. If there are mobile needs articulated in multiple parts of the company, but IT does not have strong mobile resources or mobile technology, part of IT’s plan needs to be to invest in each.
Finally, in creating this strategy, communication is key. Not only communication within the IT department, but with entities outside of IT. This will help create the trust and verify the value of IT to the organization.
Moving from back-office to front-office roles is happening as we speak, and without proving the value of your departments, you will not grow as a CIO. Brittenford Systems is here to help. As a provider of solutions tailored for your business needs; we can help improve business agility, drive intelligence, and automate unnecessary processes.
We offer CIO Advisory Services, providing the consulting and advice needed to act as a leader in the C-Suite. From IT Consultation to Rescue Assessments, we will help you improve your success as a CIO.