Over the last decade, the Chief Information Officer’s role has grown dramatically. The CIO is no longer restricted to the back office; instead, they are at the forefront of the organization, not merely managing IT but today, leading strategic decisions. The work requires leadership, people management abilities, and emotional intelligence, in addition to technology expertise.
The most significant impact of the pandemic on the workplace was the overnight shift to remote work. With much of the world now favoring some type of flexible working in a post-pandemic era, business models will forever transform to a new level.
The huge organizational upheaval at the C-Suite level has been a side effect of this new reality that hasn’t garnered as much attention as remote working. Many leaders have expanded their direct responsibilities, taking a more hands-on approach to mitigating the numerous disruptions from the crisis. Instead of directing firms from behind the scenes, they’ve become the focal point that everyone wants to hear from. Because of the immediacy with which choices must be taken, this job has frequently fallen on the shoulders of the C-Suite.
CIOs are no longer completely responsible for an organization’s IT management. For the past decade, digital transformation has been a developing trend, and the pandemic has accelerated the rate at which it is affecting enterprises. This has put CIOs in a far more strategic position and has become the deciding factor on how the role will evolve once the pandemic is over.
The shifting role of the CIO
Some years ago, CIOs were deeply focused on the security of both the employees and sensitive business information. This is now known as privacy by design. The change to extended remote work has made security more difficult to manage, but the expertise and skills CIOs have gained from dealing with expanding risks over the last decade means that this hasn’t been as much of a stumbling block as it could have been.
CIOs must examine what is most critical for the business in terms of technology while also taking into account regulations such as GDPR. This past year has revolutionized operations for businesses across many industries. For many, enforcing remote work overnight has proven difficult, but savvy CIOs would have anticipated this shift.
The Evolving face of Management
Most CIOs have had experience dealing with geographically dispersed teams, but the overnight move to months of remote working is extremely rare. CIOs must manage by establishing clear objectives and providing employees with the support and training they require to execute their jobs. Collaboration, as well as equal opportunities, are essential. CIOs must ensure that the opportunities they provide are accessible to everybody, regardless of geography.
The CIO must now identify and build a new approach to developing inclusive virtual culture that allow employees to demonstrate their capabilities and enjoy spontaneous interactions with colleagues.
The growing status of the board
Boards of directors have altered considerably in the last year across all industries. CEOs have taken on a more empathetic position of a shoulder to lean on, CFOs have adopted the role of provider, and CIOs have taken the role of enabler.
Traditionally, CIOs have not been at the core of business decisions, but rather the ones who implement changes and ensure that they perform correctly in assisting the organization’s growth. However, with the pandemic’s rapid digital transformation, the function has become increasingly vital to corporate survival and has been placed in a central position when it comes to making decisions.
IT was already an important aspect of any organization, but in the last year, it has become vital to the company’s future. It has given businesses time to reflect on what is most important and where budgets should be targeted in the future. After all, a failed IT endeavor might jeopardize the entire organization. This transformation of IT into a central backbone to business has clearly transformed the role of the CIO as well, and it extends far beyond merely technology leadership.