Chief Information Officers: Pioneering change

Picture of Rick DelgadoRick Delgado feels blessed to have had a successful career in the tech industry and has recently taken a step back to pursue his passion of writing. He's started doing freelance writing where he occasionally works with tech companies like Dell Computers. He enjoys writing about new technologies and how it can help us and our planet.

Businesses the world over are undergoing a digital transformation the likes we’ve never seen before. As technologies such as the cloud, big data analytics, the Internet of Things, and more take hold, it can certainly be an exciting time for businesses and consumers. However, all this change is leading to increased pressure and stress on IT organisations and Chief Information Officers (CIOs). Businesses want to operate at peak efficiency with a mind toward getting things done as quickly as possible. Often it’s up to CIOs to lead the charge to make that happen.

The problem is that many CIOs end up playing catch-up as their organisations slowly fall behind the rest of the competition. Needless to say, this can be disastrous for a business as they fail to take advantage of the cutting edge technology available to them. Some have even referred to these failings as a crisis in leadership in the face of digital transformation. Obviously CIOs will want to fight against this perception, which is why they’ll want to be the pioneers to spearhead needed changes at the IT level.

The forefront of technology

It is the CIO’s responsibility to always be at the forefront of technology, educating themselves on the newest techniques. That level of education isn’t all they should be doing though; figuring out how all this new technology will benefit their organisations is crucial. For that reason, CIOs need to put themselves out there, always staying ahead of coming trends and seizing upon the right opportunities at the right time. Being aware of what’s coming over the horizon can place CIOs in the position to pounce at the first opportune moment. As is often the case in the tech world, by the time people realise a trend is upon us, the moment to act has passed and you’re already behind everyone else. Knowing when those changes are coming is a vital skill that all successful CIOs must have.

Employing the right people

Staying ahead of trends may be looked at as more of a strategic move. What can a CIO do at the organisational and architectural level to embrace change and institute innovation? It can start  with the people they employ. As recommended by IDC, finding and acquiring new talents and people with rare capabilities should be looked at as one of the CIOs most important responsibilities. New people in an organisation can provide new ideas and be open to inevitable changes. At the same time, CIOs should be looking inside the organisation to train people already there, as a way to make the digital transition a lot smoother. With the right people in place, CIOs can flex their leadership skills to implement needed architectural changes quickly and easily.

Promote change

Of course none of these tips would be of much use if they weren’t used to promote changes with the IT infrastructure and technology used. It all starts with a solid foundation. CIOs must build stability with an IT architecture composed of the plug and play services needed to use new products and services that are introduced. But it goes beyond simply adopting new technologies that promote change and innovation. CIOs should also create an ecosystem which favors that level of change, allowing customers and clients to customise a system’s capabilities. That means CIOs would be receiving development from multiple directions: the customers and the organisation’s own internal drives. All of this should be done with the goal of making the company more agile in the face of more transitions.

Communication is vital

One step oft overlooked is the role of communication in this process. Whether fair or not, many people outside the IT organisation grow impatient with IT as issues arise and updates are made. To keep everyone inside and outside IT informed, CIOs must learn to communicate with everybody. Sometimes this might require hiring a communications specialist to relay that information. At other times, CIOs may handle this task themselves. In either case, people need to know what’s going on, why the changes are happening, and how it will affect their individual jobs.

Stand for change

CIOs need to be the ones who speak up for change within their organisations. If they aren’t the ones to laud the benefits of converged IT infrastructure or flash storage, no one will do it. CIOs can be a valuable force for change, but they need to be the ones to embrace this role. Without their input, businesses will flounder and ultimately be left behind as more new technologies are introduced constantly.



The New Role of the CIOBloomberg

If CIOs fail to step up on digital transformation, IT won’t

How CIOs can lead in a period of rapid change and disruption – Bank Innovation

How an involved CIO can help your organisation embrace innovation and avoid disruptionForbes

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