So you want to be a CIO? Is it for fame and fortune or is it because you love technology?
Over the last few years, the role of CIO has been elevated to one of importance in a company. Over the past decade, there have been increased investment in technology and the complexities of ensuring that IT is optimally serving business needs are all factors that have contributed to the continuing importance of the role of the CIO.
What is a CIO? CIO is an abbreviation for Chief Information Officer. S/he can report to the board of directors, CEO, CFO, COO, depending on the structure of the company. Ideally, the position should report directly to the CEO or board. The function of the CIO is to figure out how to use technology to meet business demand.
What are the key skills that make for an effective CIO?
CIOs should have an understanding of the business. A CIO must have broad knowledge of the overall industry as well as a detailed understanding of how the business units interact and function, and how the company ultimately makes money. CIOs should develop the same mature business perspective that their colleagues managing line functions have.
CIOs should have well-honed communication and negotiation skills. In addition to speaking about technology, it is equally important that CIOs communicate effectively about the risk, impact, and interaction of technology with the business. Like other executives, CIOs (and their IT staffs) constantly negotiate with vendors, partners, business unit executives and corporate leadership.
A successful CIO knows how to manage and make trade-offs in technology, how to invest in technology and how to augment the value of IT to a corporation and mitigate the risks involved.
Other areas skills that are mandatory for CIOs are: IT management skills in program/project management, leadership and change management skills, financial management acumen, and international business experience.
I always believed that if you want to aspire for something than start behaving like that, eventually you will become one. So if you want to become a CIO, than start behaving like a CIO.
Reaching the top is not very difficult, but staying on the top is, since after the peak it’s only the downfall.
Good luck to you, in your journey to becoming a CIO.