This week Backupify sponsored the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium where hundreds of CIOs gathered to discuss strategy and leadership and what it takes to identify and implement new technologies in today’s digital enterprise. There were several recurring themes about the qualities that make up a modern CIO. Below are some of the distinct characteristics mentioned during the event:
Agile - While it seems to be a bit of a buzzword, everyone really is striving to be as agile as possible. Technology is changing rapidly so CIOs and their teams simply can’t afford to wait. Being agile comes down to alignment. Alignment between the management team and the CIO and alignment between the different groups within the organization. Without alignment around a single outcome and goal, teams can’t possibly be agile.
Customer-focused - CIOs were traditionally never customer-facing, “out there” employees but as technology moves to the forefront of everything we do and as consumers get more comfortable with technology, the CIO is now interacting with customers on a whole new level. The CIO of today (and the future) needs to be customer-focused and now CIOs can play a major role in shaping the customer experience. With digital business, customers are front and center. CIOs can collaborate with customers and then develop new capabilities.
Visible - Technology is ubiquitous. The CIO needs to play a much more visible role at the company and even at the board level. It’s not about just building something - securing a platform and installing best in class technology. The modern CIO is a seriously strategic component to your company.
Innovative - Probably obvious but worth repeating. In a panel called “Leading the Digital Enterprise” CIOs from Dell, Raytheon, Verizon, and Equinix stressed the importance of innovation and being an innovator. While the consumer space is driving digital disruption, CIOs should not only embrace the scary change but make change happen themselves - be the innovator at your organization. Andriana Karaboutis of Dell commented “I don’t chase shadow IT, I chase innovation.” She provided an example around the multitude of new cloud applications out in the market that employees are using at Dell. Instead of trying to shut these apps down and drive them out, her team thought of a way to embrace them. At Dell, they could see that these apps were heavily in use so they created a Dell mobile app store for employees - encouraging them to use the apps.
The role of the CIO has evolved tremendously as technology changes the way we work each and every day. To be a leader at their organizations, modern CIOs must be agile, customer-focused, visible, and innovative.
What other qualities make up a super CIO?