While innovation and digital transformation will continue to be important, IT leaders must be willing to wear multiple hats in 2021 and beyond. It’s past time for companies to reconsider the role of the CIOs.
Chief information officers (CIOs) have long been stereotyped as gearhead technologists in companies that place a premium on the ultimate power of technology. Until 2020, they were frequently regarded as outsiders in the C-suite, present solely to ensure the smooth operation of the organization and to remain silent otherwise.
The repercussions of the pandemic, on the other hand, highlighted, and emphasized the necessity of IT to the continued success of the enterprise. Following COVID-19, technology executives kept IT systems up and running, established rapid and long-term remote working capabilities, managed a dispersed and exhausted workforce, and much more.
Digital transformation and innovation will continue to be important in the future, but IT leaders must be multi-faceted in order to flourish in 2021 and beyond.
It is not just about developing a few skills; it is about creating whole personas that can dive into any business unit and demonstrate the value of technology.
Based simply on public messaging, every organization seems to be working on digital transformation these days. The need became all too evident after a year of increased usage of cloud technologies, collaborative tools, and advanced analytics. However, as any CIO knows, digital transformation goals do not always equate to digital transformation outcomes.
There is a significant difference between wanting to do something and really doing it. That is why CIOs must learn to guide and shape the post-pandemic future by supporting the C-suite to drive an intelligent enterprise.
They need to be visible and reachable. They must exude confidence and calm. Moreover, they must also see themselves as leaders of the overall transformation process, not just “IT people.”
CIOs must remember that the business always comes first when assuming a leadership role. They need to take a holistic approach to every decision and effort, looking for ways to move forward with technology serving the company rather than the other way around.
The transformation pitch must emphasize business value, whether it comes from boosting customer numbers, cutting costs, or making the company more efficient in the long run.
The necessity of marketing the IT story to the enterprise and the public only grows as the days of being perceived as siloed tech experts fade away. Technology leaders need to find a way to demonstrate why and how the team is so good at what they do, and ensure the team members are kept informed about new technology and upcoming activities. This will not only help establish trust in the value of IT efforts throughout the firm, but will also establish a line of communication to ensure that goals and intentions are aligned.
CIOs could hold quarterly town hall meetings to showcase the IT department’s work, and get validation from CEO or CFO of the organization, commending the team on its achievements. CIOs also need to be good at media relations, to get the story into the trades.
The influence of the CIO could suffer if the other teams are not aware of what the IT department is doing and why it is working. They need to take command of the plot.
IT executives must continue to be IT executives. That is a fact that cannot be overlooked by businesses.
Although the business always comes first, the CIO understands how technology can assist in problem-solving better than anybody else. They should connect the application of technology to industry developments, increasing organizational efficiency by combining technology with well-defined processes. Creating innovative technology solutions in response to market pressures is another strategy that they could follow. The CIO, being the technologist in a C Suite of businessmen, needs to also drive innovations, and hence, setting some time and effort to study and experiment with new technology.
The IT team’s job is to keep the company’s vital technology infrastructure running smoothly. To execute all of these things properly, CIOs may need to learn a few new skills.
CIOs must be innovators, diversifiers, and proponents of sustainability, mental health advocates, and much more.
In the last 12 months, the answer to what makes a great CIO has altered and changed several times, but that’s only because CIOs themselves have altered and changed. To meet the need of the hour, they have to business leaders that use technology as an enabler for growth.