By Simon Walters Friday, 20 July 2012

Five ways to unleash your CIO

Get passionate about your CIO! The job is more important than ever and can have a real effect on revenue streams, so pay attention, says Simon Walters.

Traditionally, CIOs have had two main concerns: saving time, and saving money. But now there is a third concern entering the mix – making money. With the explosion of cloud computing and the rise of mobile devices being used in the workplace, as well as social media, SEO and digital integration all being thrown around boardrooms, the CIO’s list of duties has increased greatly. 

Yet their resources and involvement in other aspects of the business do not necessarily reflect this. Technology and IT have the ability to transform an organisation, and give it a competitive edge in the market. It is time to unleash the CIO and allow them to lead organisations in this digital age. 
Here is how to begin:

1. Keep CIOs informed. Sharing business objectives and progress will allow CIOs to make more informed decisions when it comes to IT infrastructure. Gap analysis is essential to a robust IT environment. CIOs need to know the current state of play and where the management team wants to be, if IT is to play the streamlining and cost-saving role it is expected to.

2. Involve CIOs in key business decisions. CIOs have the ability not only to be advisors to organisations, but also leaders in technology innovation that can transform a business. Technology can determine business direction and CIOs are potentially holding information that could alter the future course of your products or the way you engage with customers. 

3. Two-way training. The last 10 years has seen technology advance leaps and bounds, with new developments being announced every week. The concerns on a CIO’s mind have multiplied. By investing in the development of the IT team you can ensure the organisation stays ahead of the curve. But training should also come from CIOs; they are a training tool in themselves and should be utilised to improve digital literacy throughout organisations.

4. Free CIOs’ time to focus on innovation. Organisations are keen to harness their massing amounts of ‘big data’. But if CIOs are expected to turn data into insight, they need time to do it. By adopting a cloud service or simply outsourcing basic administrative tasks to a managed services provider, time can be freed up to focus on more innovative and business-changing tasks. 

5. Soft skills. With the integration of CIOs into other aspects of the business, soft skills such as teamwork, project management and communication are essential. 

They’re no longer just techies. They’re essential, and you need them on board.

Simon Walters, is a director at MTI, a cloud infrastructure consultancy. 

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