Are Your Skills Relevant Enough to be a CIO?


Tech Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for IT pros

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Those hoping to become CIOs need to consider what skills other than IT management are required to fulfil the role and make a positive impact on the company as a whole.

Article 3 Minutes
Confident skilled CIO holding laptop

Those looking to move into the role of Chief Information Officer (CIO) should consider the skills they have and whether they are enough to work well within the position. While you undoubtedly have experience and expertise in the field of IT, there are other areas you will need to consider in order to make the best decisions for the company. In fact, Gartner found that 22 per cent of CIOs say that one of the biggest barriers to success is having the relevant skills.

With business innovations moving beyond technology, CIOs need to understand what is expected of them and which issues are the most important for them to address. CIO UK highlights the shift in priorities for those entering into this role, with two of the most important actions being: driving innovation and working to lead changes.

Taking into account the challenges already associated with this role, driving innovation is likely to be more difficult, especially if you don't have the skillset. With this in mind, we'll explore some of the skills that CIOs should build in order to succeed.

Business strategy

The modern CIO has a more prominent role in business strategy, as a result of the ever-growing importance of technology in organizations. According to McKinsey, CIOs with an active role in business strategy help with the improvement of IT performance in all areas of the business.

However, they found that very few CIOs are taking part in the creation of business strategies, suggesting there is a skills gap when it comes to supporting overall business growth. In order to be seen as a possible CIO and ensure you are well equipped to take on the role, looking to improve your skills and knowledge in terms of business strategy could be highly beneficial.

This can mean working on analysis techniques to ascertain what the role of IT is in other areas of the business. This will enable you to better understand what improvements can be made. It might also involve looking at emerging technologies and putting together plans to showcase how they could be incorporated into the business. Alternatively, it could also mean explaining why a specific technology is not the best fit for the company at the present time.

Building on business strategy skills will ensure that, as a CIO, you are able to have an impact on the direction of the company and underpin the continuing importance of IT.

Hiring tactics

While IT managers will have experience of filling vacant roles as and when they become available, CIOs need to look at developing more advanced hiring strategies. This means looking to hiring for business growth, taking on long-term investments and addressing the growing gap in available IT professionals and skills.

With 86 per cent of ISACA members saying they have found a global shortfall in the number of available cybersecurity professionals, it goes to show that the skills shortage in the sector is a growing concern. CIOs, therefore, need to develop their hiring skills in order to address this difficulty and ensure that the company has the right people to step into these roles.

A broader strategy that includes options for in-house training can ensure you're thinking ahead to the future of the company and anticipating what the company will need in the future. However, this requires yet more analytical skills and the ability to make long-term plans to allow for better growth management.

Knowledge of staffing optimization strategies and organizational models are vital to the development of a solid hiring plan, and so developing your skills in these areas is vital to ensuring you have what it takes to be a CIO.

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