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How to manage IT in a growing business: Appointing a CIO

Jonathan McCormick, COO of Intermedia | April 12, 2016
Part 2 of a 3 part series on how IT matures as companies grow

The traits of a strong CIO

Put simply, a CIO needs to exude a love for technology and your business. To Joe, a passionate CIO is likely to be very knowledgeable about the various products and solutions available in the market, and enjoy researching industry trends in his/her spare time. However, Joe will also want a strong CIO that understands how current technologies can increase his company’s sales and not just reduce costs or improve clerical productivity.

The goal of the CIO is to recommend solutions with the best capabilities in the marketplace to help a business maintain a competitive edge, and implement technology that won’t be obsolete for years to come. Joe wants to be able to say with confidence that his marketing and sales departments are using the best lead generation and CRM tools and receive feedback from those teams that the tools are integrated seamlessly.

If Joe’s lucky, the CIO he appoints will have been a developer earlier in his career. A CIO that was previously a developer will have a better understanding of the complexity of integration between different cloud systems. In addition, the CIO will know the capabilities of each system or combination of systems from a custom reporting perspective. This skillset may also enable CIOs to do some of the report development on their own. A CIO with a technical background will have practical experience with implementing and enforcing appropriate IT policies, as well as managing and offering guidance to IT teams.

Measuring the results

When it comes to measuring the success of a CIO, it can be relatively simple at a surface level: make sure that your amount of revenue per headcount is going up. Joe considers this as a vital metric to measuring a CIO’s success, as it is in marketing or sales.

In order for Joe’s company to be in a good position to appoint a CIO, it needs to be considering and implementing policies from day-one. In my next and final article in this series, I’ll be discussing the implementation of formal IT policies and procedures as Joe’s small company matures and begins taking on more employees.

 

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