Just as technology has advanced, the role of a CIO has seen continuous change over the years. As many businesses continue on their digital transformation journeys, CIO’s are becoming increasingly important as they move toward finding innovative ways to drive this transformation and to keep up with an ever more interconnected world.
CIOs are required to have a combination of business acumen, communication and leadership skills as well as technical expertise. According to a Forbes survey (of 400 CIO’s around the globe) “CIOs believe the most important personal qualities required of a CIO are leadership (39%), communicating and influencing (37%), and partnering with others (36%)”.
This influential position is not without its challenges:
1) Recruiting talent:
CIOs increasingly feel the pressure to stay competitive and are challenged with recruiting, upskilling, coaching, (and often mentoring) their tech teams to ensure they have capabilities and technical skills to achieve business objectives and shared company goals. An important facet essential to success in IT teams are soft skills, including good communication, interpersonal, problem-solving and collaboration skills. Many CIOs would agree that there is more to be done to attract this IT talent in addition to nurturing existing talent.
2) Data security
IT security is often a stay-awake issue for CIOs with potential threats in this area as data privacy becomes a bigger issue. With the recent pandemic, there is increased usage of mobile devices and collaboration tools (project management, video conferencing, instant messaging) by remote workers who often have access to email, internal documents and other data. The CIO has the responsibility to ensure that teams are educated and informed about potential security threats, communicate the importance of staying alert and be the driving force behind information security improvements. CIOs need to ensure that the right secure technology is in place and managed to help those who continue to work remotely and to boost their productivity.
3) Big Data
Big Data is gaining momentum and an IT growth area that present both opportunities and challenges. Storage, collection, organisation, management and how to get insight out of data and outcomes are all areas that are a key concern for today’s CIO. This can become more complex in a merger and acquisition situation where data is stored over different systems. However, there would be a consensus that Big Data is an integral aspect of business, a source of competitive advantage and an area that can uncover new business opportunities.
As the pace of change accelerates CIOs face many challenges in the pandemic and post pandemic world and the best ones are those who can see both where the business is going in the world and how best to attract and align the right talent to get there.
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