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  • Debbie Schwake

Advancing the Organization: Connecting with the CIO

Updated: Feb 27, 2021

As a Chief Information Officer (CIO,) you are the most senior technology executive inside an organization, and that entails a position with a wide variety of critical duties to fill.

In marketing, personas are the key element to understanding the motivations of your buyer, whether alone or as part of the buying committee.

Let's dig deeper into the key motivations of the CIO.

As a CIO, you should:

Make investments that support the business.

Since a CIO’s role focuses so intensely on the digital side of things, these investments should be geared toward up-and-coming business technology, inspired by technology advancements.

The technology infrastructure of an organization connects all the critical business processes and outcome measurements. Disconnected systems create silos in information and can have a negative impact on culture due to the dependence on people rather than systems to drive decision-making. The CIO must navigate the technology infrastructure in the organization to avoid this risk

Manage security and risk.

A CIO should understand both positive and negative risk, assessing what’s worth it and what’s not. Sometimes, innovative ideas aren’t created without taking an important risk. But other risks that could jeopardize funds or the integrity of the business should be avoided. A CIO understands how to differentiate the two.

As importantly, the CIO is the primary protector of the company’s data. Preventing system penetration while carefully constructing the firewalls and other protections to keep cyber thieves away is an incredibly stressful undertaking as cyber crime continues to gain sophistication.

Innovate and evolve infrastructure for the future - mobile, social, Cloud.

A CIO’s role is about moving their business digitally into the future, and the future is constantly being digitized. Jenny Beresford, Gartner Research Director from CIO Advisory Group, said, “If CIOs want to move out of an operational, functional mindset, to become true leaders of the digital businesses that they are protagonists in creating, then they need to up their entrepreneurialism – thinking up and facilitating new digital products, and then taking them to market.”

Top CIOs know that technology supports process; it doesn’t create process. As such, these leaders have a new focus in the organization in guiding department leaders to ensure their processes are set and understood before a technology investment is entertained. After all, they are the first person we call when something breaks.

Control costs.

CIOs are focused on building a platform to enable digital change, but this must be done while keeping the cost of such change in mind. There is an IT budget in place for every organization, and it’s up to a CIO to decide what portion of it should be focused on operations, and what portion on innovations.

CIOs are strategists with great leadership skills, as they have the IT department of a business to consider each and every day. With the concept of technology making itself more and more present in everyday life, the role of a CIO is more important now than ever.

Connecting it all.

Today’s CIOs have a strong desire to be seen at a level equivalent to their C-suite peers - as they should be. The professional in this role must be constantly connected with new developments in both technology and follow closely what’s happening with cyber crime.

Leadership in every department leans on the CIO to advise and support the technology needed to run their respective areas. As such, the CIO has to have knowledge of those processes in a wide variety of areas to guide leadership to the best decision. The importance of this partnership cannot be understated. Today’s CIO must exert authority and expertise while collaborating with fellow leaders to maintain oversight of business systems, technology, and security.

Even with a move to decentralized technology in organizations, you’re still served best when you seek advice and the support of the CIO. They desire the most intricate technical details and must be assured there is little to no risk involved. They are the first to get the call when a breach is identified or when a device is broken.

Do not underestimate the CIO.


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