The CEO is a business person, and as such everyone in the C-suite must come in to a meeting with the CEO prepared to talk about. It is not a meeting about the latest technology (CIO), nor about keeping the company’s finances in order (CFO). Nor is it about the current trends in cyberthreats (CISO), nor is it about better engaging customers through more compelling campaigns (CMO).
By inference, the CIO should come to the room with the same understanding of what is expected of the role – to bring a business solution to the table – albeit, heavily centred towards the leveraging of technology.
Back in February 2017, CPP, the publisher of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment, released seven traits CIOs need to be thriving leaders. These include empathy, dominance, self-awareness, flexibility, insightfulness, a balance between rule-favouring and rule-questioning, and independence.
But these attributes reflect upon the character of a person and can be applied to just about any profession or position.
To provide a more balanced view of the current position of the chief information officer (CIO) and the IT team, FutureCIO spoke to several professionals who different disciplines and industries to what they are make up for a great CIO.
Peter Lam, group CIO at Tricor Global, commented that the purpose of information technology, and the IT function by extension, is to support the business. He felt it important that the CIO must have a solid understanding of the business, and by extension the customer’s business.
“It is important that as CIO, I understand the requirements and pain points of our customers because we [IT] exists to serve our customer – internal and external. Without this, IT shouldn’t exist. We are here to support the business,” he opined.
He agreed that a CIO and the team must take on the persona of an adaptive enterprise – able to change as the environment changes.
Customer’s problem is our problem
Every enterprise today is in the business of solving their customer’s problems.
The customer cares only about one thing – solving their problems. The value of every company that wants to do business with you must therefore bring a solution that solves your problem.
Nothing else matters.
“Our customers’ environments are changing, and IT must do the same. This could mean being in the markets where they are, deploying technologies, complying with local regulations and best practices critical to growing in those markets,” he continued.
It’s a team effort – a borderless partnership
Finally, Lam believed that any good CIO, and by inference the IT team, must be agile, able to exceed the expectations of customers. But such a feat cannot be solved by one person alone. As Lam noted, it is a team effort.
But just as CIOs must recognize that their success hinges on the success of the team, in today’s complex technology and business environments, the team may likely involve parties outside of the company’s organizational structure.
According to Uli Braun, chief technology officer for ATOS, that while enterprises are not expected to extend their partnerships to everyone in the ecosystem – he implies a case-by-case basis is in order – he recognises that it is impossible for one enterprise to know everything about every emerging technology.
“That's what partners are for. It is important to leverage partners to achieve the desired outcome. Let the partners help make the technology choices so that you as a business can focus on the business choices,” he concluded.