Chief Information Officers have an unprecedented opportunity to transform themselves and their departments and become a key voice at the executive table.
Technology now forms the backbone of most businesses and is a major enabler of change, innovation and a driver for sustainable competitive advantage. Therefore, it’s no surprise to discover that IT has become a key component of organizational planning and strategy.
As such, today’s Chief Information officers need well-developed business and leadership skills, in addition to their more traditional technical abilities, in order to operate successfully at this level. A key component of the business strategy is the digital strategy, which is supported by the IT strategy. Identify disruptive trends, threats, talent and partners, and then champion proposals and priorities that will help your enterprise survive and thrive in an increasingly digital world. Due to this, CIOs are now viewed as the most important senior leaders in driving digital transformation and innovation. What really matters for the new generation of CIOs is delivering value to the business.
One of the first acts of leadership new generation CIOs can contribute to the enterprise, is to drive digital role clarity and teamwork expectations. The CIO can accomplish this by promoting three IT Subcultures:
- The Operators, focused on keeping operations running and improving
- The Innovators, focused on speed and exploration
- The Change Agents, focused on leadership and balancing innovation with risk.
However, to deliver a successful digital transformation CIOs really need to be supported by agile, flexible, ‘plug and play’ technology that enables them to rapidly deliver what the business needs. They need agile and adaptive systems, to give them the freedom to innovate and more importantly help their teams be more productive and explore new possibilities, bringing fresh thinking to the organization.
New generation CIOs need to be holistic thinking and acting leaders. The CIO should be equipped with the same skills as other leaders who transform their organizations: with a focus on collaboration, innovation, optimization, and change while building a fast and agile IT team that is accessible and can help create value.
In summation, for new generation CIOs the challenge and opportunity is all about agility. Technologies that allow organizations to connect directly with customers. Research and development, production, distribution, finance, and marketing are now intimately integrated. The new generation CIO needs to control each aspect of the technical ecosystem to assure that the organization is harmonizing business tactics with sound technical strategy, actively adjusting to changing innovations and disruption, and embracing the upside of innovation while minimizing risk.
Will Lassalle, CIO of JLS Technology USA, is a global information technology and information/cyber security executive adept at identifying, communicating, and mitigating enterprise risk. Lassalle has a proven track record in portfolio management, organization, and program building leadership abilities involving systems development, digital transformation, cloud computing, business intelligence, and cyber security, among many other technology-related proficiencies.