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Too many tech fish in the c-suite: Embracing new roles that overlap with IT

Bonnie Gardiner | Aug. 4, 2015
CIOs not equipped for the demands of the digital world must learn to embrace roles like the CMO, CDO and the CINO

Hillard recommends that CIOs should aim to work like a venture capitalist, adopting a portfolio management approach to IT's balance sheet and investment pool, while providing greater visibility into IT's areas of focus, its risk profile, and the value IT generates. CIOs should be prepared to also explain the complexity of this IT portfolio to business partners, and help them find opportunity in areas they otherwise might not have.

"That's a much more collaborative view, rather than simply being an order taker and providing business systems according to a set of specifications," says Hillard. "In order to evolve and progress you need to be able to show that you have a portfolio that you're looking after well and that you're having a material business impact."

Cox agrees that success relies on IT leaders who understand that they are now part of a wider remit that affects the whole business, while also taking the time to learn where specifically they can add value, and where they can take a step back.

"It's like any relationship I guess -- it's working to understand and build that network together and determining: what are your skills, what are my skills, what are we both really good at?" she says.

"If it is the IT specialist, they know the history of the business and the way the systems work. They know the company, the infrastructure, the good, the bad and the ugly. Then a new person comes in and has different ideals and you can work together and share those insights.

"I'm sure they could learn a lot from each other rather just being that 'no' person for innovation or digital because they will constantly butt heads."

Keep your IT shop in check

Though evolving from a technology manager to a business strategist, CIOs still need to maintain reliable core operations and infrastructure to establish their credibility in the organisation.

"Spotty service and unmet business needs can quickly undermine any momentum CIOs have achieved," reads the Deloitte 2015 Tech Trends report.

Deloitte recommends that CIOs first go after operational excellence, which will earn them the right to collaborate with the business and give them what they really need, not just what they ask for.

"Increasingly, CIOs need to harness emerging disruptive technologies for the business while balancing future needs with today's operational realities," the report reads.

"They should view their responsibilities through an enterprise-wide lens to help ensure critical domains such as digital, analytics, and cloud aren't spurring redundant, conflicting, or compromised investments within departmental or functional silos."

Ginna Raahauge, a veteran of Riverbed and Cisco, and newly appointed CIO for integration software specialist Informatica, recently spoke with CIO US around the evolving role for IT leaders, and the need for CIOs to now juggle four Is - innovation, integration and intelligence, while keeping a solid eye on infrastructure.


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