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Being a CIO in a business built on innovation

Byron Connolly | July 15, 2014
Equinix CIO, Brian Lillie, discusses how to shake out money and management bandwidth to truly innovate and transform an organisation.

The ability to communicate well and be 'story tellers' is what makes a good CIO, he says.

"[CIOs] have to be passionate what they do and if they throw at a board member [rhetoric about] technology for technology sake, they are nuts, they're never going to win," he says.

And Lillie has a five step recipe for success, which he shares with the company's sales staff who are selling to other CIOs. The first step is to determine the current state of "whatever it is you want to change," he says.

Step two is determining the issues with the current state.

"You have to excite them [other executives] or perturb them, make them uncomfortable," he says.

Step three involves panting a picture of the future state infrastructure, explaining what it could look like and how it will help the organisation secure more customers.

"Tell them, 'here's how we can drive customer satisfaction, increase revenue and cut costs and drive employee satisfaction,'" he says.

The fourth step is to determine how the proposed future state solves the issues or take advantage of the opportunities that have been identified in the current state.

Step five is to lay out a roadmap detailing the time and resources required to transform the business and the role you as a CIO will play.

"That recipe I think CIOs need to realise -- is that it's important to share, communicate and story tell inside their own organisations.

"I don't think CIOs place enough value on that communication skill. It's easy to manage out of fear and out of the back office than it is to step out and be a leader from the front office from a position of passion. And sometimes that's risky," he says.


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