The Rapid Pace of Technology Change Calls for a New Leader
Changes in technology, both in the way it is delivered and the way it is consumed, are disrupting industries and businesses at a pace that has not been seen in recent years. Echoing this fact, a 2016 PwC survey found that 78% of US CEOs are somewhat or extremely concerned about the rapid pace of technology change, and they see an investment in technology as the most direct path to meaningful innovation and operational efficiency.
So, how do organizations capitalize on this technology change?
A recent McKinsey & Company study found that organizations where the Chief Information Officer (CIO) is more involved in business strategy report up to 50% more effective and valuable IT performance. The CIO role is evolving, and executives are finding that having a business-oriented and strategy-minded technology leader can create competitive advantage.
The value of a strategic CIO is clear, but the path to finding one, not so much. Many of today’s CIOs grew up in the era of keeping the lights on, reducing costs, and doing more with less. It isn’t enough to just now invite the CIO to the executive table - many organizations will be faced with the need to recruit new talent. But, what are the characteristics of a strategic CIO?
- Look ahead rather than back – They realize that just because something is “the way it has always been done” does not mean it cannot be challenged. They do not let the past guide innovation – they look to the future.
- Actively identify opportunities to drive business change – They are more concerned about understanding the business, building strong relationships with their colleagues, and collaborating to drive business results.
- Communicate a clear vision in business terms – They speak in terms that executives and process owners can understand. Rather than trying to teach others about technology, they translate technology into business terms and outcomes.
- Are not afraid to ask for or accept help – They understand that no one individual or team can keep up with the pace of technology change, and that knowing how to engage and leverage true experts is a skill, not a weakness.
- Act as a broker of services and capabilities – They realize that the days of building and owning everything are in the past. They embrace today’s model of consuming technology as a service.
- Continually evaluate their team and talent – They provide their staff with opportunities to grow their skills, take on new roles and support them in truly learning the business.
- See themselves as a partner with their business colleagues, not a supplier – They put more emphasis on adding value through innovation, not through technology cost reduction.
Today’s CIO is more important than ever before, and the organizations that capitalize on the strategic value of the role will find themselves wielding an enhanced competitive edge