Every CIO knows that software can churn through massive amounts of data and analyse it in no time at all.
It is, however, the most astute ICT leaders who recognise that there is another, just as powerful, weapon in their armoury - simple observation of what is happening around them.
CIOs and analysts I have interviewed over the years have provided insights on the range of questions ICT leaders can ask to gauge how their department is perceived across the organisation, and what areas they need to work on.
To wit: Does your schedule include regular presentations to the executive team and the board about business technology trends; how these will impact the enterprise, which merit being tested as pilot projects? Moreover, do they look forward to the presentations?
Do your executive peers seek your insights on business concerns, which may or may not be about technology? On your way to the coffee machine or to a meeting, do you inevitably get interruptions from colleagues, querying you about updates, advice, and opinion on a range of subjects?
Do the queries go beyond an ongoing project, such as the impact of new executive appointment or a government announcement?
Such interactions could indicate something deeper – the respect and trust for ICT’s contribution and its strategic role in the executive team.
Do you get requests from staff in other business units raring to join your department? Are your ICT staff members regularly being poached by, or requested to be seconded to other business units?
The last question is critical, especially for CIOs, who are now the default change leaders in organisations. With most enterprise programmes incorporating technology, and hence, involvement of the ICT team, it is an advantage to have a ready pool of allies when implementing projects.
CIOs as agents for change is a constant theme in ICT leadership discussions. In fact, such is the number one business trend discerned in our latest CIO100 (formerly MIS100) report on the top IT using organisations in New Zealand: The CIO is now, more than ever, the organisation’s chief transformation officer.
Consumerisation of technology, cloud services, and data explosion continue to change - and challenge - the enterprise landscape. The CIO’s task is to ensure the organisation does not view these as individual disruptors, but rather, as a confluence of important trends that should be tackled jointly.
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