With the pandemic bringing them into the spotlight, CIOs are embracing the criticality of their new status by capitalizing on business-savvy skills.
The acceleration of digital transformation initiatives to combat the challenges COVID-19 had put a lot of strain on CIOs. From re-evaluating their strategies to ensuring the business operations of the organization continue to sustain, they set up the required infrastructure that almost seems like overnight. Given the importance of IT in the survival of the business operations, CIOs have been allocated resources that many board members were before the pandemic would use to stall. However, these opportunities have also reshaped their position among the board and blurred the traditional lines to their career trajectory.
As CIOs continue to forge and expand into the business trajectory, IT executives embrace a more strategic role. With technology being at the center stage of the business, many CIOs are incorporating some of the fundamental aspects of chief technology officer (CTO) or chief digital officer (CDO). Additionally, their view of the business and knowledge of end-to-end business processes also gives them the advantage to expand their leadership to other functional areas than other top executives who have a narrower view of the enterprise domains.
Today’s CIOs are not just about taking on more responsibility or oversight of new areas. They are also looking to capitalize on their newfound status to advance their careers in larger or prominent organizations and take on board-level positions. These all growing possibilities indicate that the possibilities for advancement in CIO career are at an all-time high.
The possibilities for CIO career advancement are at an all-time high. Gray says the phone is ringing off the hook for his IT executive clients who are being pitched new opportunities. The challenge, he says, is sorting through the range of possibilities to figure out precisely what move is the right fit.
Drafting their career path
While today’s CIOs are continuously pitched new opportunities, selecting the right one is becoming difficult. With a broad range of possibilities, CIOs will have to figure out precisely what is the right fit for them.
As they move up the career ladder and consider their next avenue, CIOs should determine what’s driving them, whether focusing on their career trajectory or desire to combat new
challenges. They should identify what exactly about their role brings them satisfaction.
Incorporating some of the elements of the product manager mindset can help CIOs to ease the flexibility towards their next career move. This enables them to understand the technology and connect it back to the specific needs of the business, customers and employees, effectively opening them up to opportunities that were not possible in their pure technical roles.
One of the popular ways that CIOs are expanding beyond their traditional trajectory is by taking on board positions. It enables CIOs to expand their remit and gain exposure. However, industry experts say it can be a significant time commitment when considering the role at a public organization versus a non-profit one, which takes advantage of board members’ time more judiciously.
Organizations also acknowledge the critical importance of IT leaders and reach them out for board positions, given their breadth of experience and skill set. By capitalizing on CIOs’ experience, who appreciate the digital transformation and understanding of cybersecurity and customer experience, organizations can thrive in the enterprise landscape.
CIOs aiming for flexibility in their career should know how to speak the language of business, be adept at managing teams of employees in chaotic environments, and possess strategic acumen recognized by their peers. To remain the top technologist, CIOs should become top strategists.