CIO Outlook

Chief Information Officers (CIO’s) are facing growing digital proliferation. As cloud applications are becoming the new standard operating procedure, it’s time to rethink the IT function. The CIO outlook on digital oversight is key to maintaining security and streamlining business operational efficiencies.

Gone are the days when IT teams had full control over the software and hardware deployed within the organization. For example, Sales and Marketing teams have access to an increasing number of software solutions that enable them to deliver personalized customer experiences. It doesn’t stop there, Human Resources and other departments have their own software solutions to streamline their work.

With access to cloud based applications just a few clicks away, employees have taken control of their own stack. Meanwhile IT departments have been focused on updating legacy systems and processes. The ability to act as a gatekeeper is simply not possible in today’s workplace. People need technology to get their work done and don’t want to wait for IT to review and approve it.

The answer for CIO’s is to adopt a new approach. IT command and control is gone. Collaboration with business unit leaders is required. Merging back office infrastructure with new business technologies requires an integrated approach. Per Forrester, “If you’re using technology to speed up internal processes, that’s great — but it’s not digital transformation. True transformation is about rising to the expectations of your customers: It means reinventing the business and creating an enterprisewide culture of customer obsession — and it must be led by the CEO and the CIO.”

While much of the press is on emerging business technologies, two-thirds of the $3 trillion spent on technology is in the back office. An integrated approach has become more top of mind as cybersecurity breaches are increasing in size and scope. The ability to adapt quickly to customer needs with new cloud based technologies has also introduced new security risks.

Per a recent MIT Sloan Management Review article, “The solution, therefore, is for CIOs to lead the integration but with a BT mindset. This is not the first argument for combining the technologies equally under the CIO. But those calls ignore the mindset differences that prevent proper integration. It isn’t enough to give CIOs a broad mandate. Nor is it about hiring the right person. CIOs need new kinds of organizational support.”

The article notes a number of imperatives for leaders including a customer focus, agile development, and close collaboration with the CMO. Along the same lines, PwC recently wrote about the Changing Role of the CIO. In the article, they mention the change from support service to business leader. This includes capabilities beyond technical competence, including soft skills typically associated with strong CEO’s. CIO’s are expected to focus on business growth in addition to in-house operational efficiency. There is also an expectation of being more visionary, thinking proactively like an entrepreneur instead of managing reactive requests.

To learn more about the outlook for CIO’s, send us a note. Our executive recruiters have worked with CIO’s across industries and understand the unique challenges they face in today’s workplace. At Sheer Velocity, our experience and tenacity helps companies like yours find the right person. No two companies are alike, and no two searches are alike. We work directly with you to ensure both skill and cultural fit.