While most CIOs already hold a sufficient understanding of business processes to deliver successful outcomes for customers, CIOs also need to acquire the ability to take full leadership for business transformation. This includes acquiring organizational leadership capabilities, such as the ability to think on a more strategic rather than tactical level, and building peer-to-peer confidence. These skill sets will enable CIOs to have their voice heard across the organisation and engage key stakeholders in shaping the change agenda for the digital age.
Given the huge potential to make a difference in the future, CIOs must consider how to best position themselves for broader leadership opportunities in business transformation, shared service management and enterprise design. The needs of Asia in a multi-national business where other regions are not performing so well must be addressed. Here are some tips for CIOs in Asia which will help them reposition the CIO role in Asia to one of business leadership.
Firstly, CIOs should focus on business value and establish a thought leadership position within the organisation by introducing new digital methods and solutions, such as IT consumerisation and mobility. In essence, IT leaders should give the business the choice it needs. Such choice will help to transform the image of IT from a utility to a genuine business partner.
Secondly, ensure that the business sees IT as an essential enabler, rather than as an inhibitor of change. Such a transition might require substantial development with respect to current outsourcing arrangements and legacy systems, as well as new global sourcing paradigms.
Third, focus on delivering superior value for money. Benchmarking should be done against cost leaders, such as Amazon and Google, rather than sector giants. Such an approach will help CIOs to set stretched targets for themselves as individuals and for their strategic IT partners.
Finally, be prepared to expand the CIO role. CIOs need to ensure that peers understand the 'I' in CIO as being closely associated with innovation and information, rather than technology. Such repositioning will entitle the CIO to participate in the design and development of the digital business as it begins to emerge in the coming years. 'I' also needs to stand for 'influential'.
The dawning of the digital age provides a golden chance for to modern CIO to play a prominent role in leading his or her organisation forward. The CIO looking to take advantage of this leadership opportunity must embrace transformation for the benefit of the business.
Nick Kirkland is CEO at CIO Connect.
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