Will CIOs become dinosaurs?

It’s hard to believe that it was over 30 years  ago the word CIO was first mentioned. And yes during this period, the leadership and value that CIOs contributed to  organizations has changed from an operational type management function to strategic and becoming part of senior  management. But recently organizations have started to question the long-term need for a strategic CIO function.
Why are they questioning it? Do they think that technology doesn’t play an important role in their organization? No. Technology is part of every business function,  but it is increasingly viewed as operational, not as a strategic differentiator. Have CIOs then come full circle, from operational to strategic to back to operational? Yes. Is there a way to avoid this? Maybe. If CIOs are willing to include  leading change in their portfolio and start acting as the Change Information Officer.
How can the CIO make the transition? For some people it will be easier than others. In order to change, CIOs need to understand the business and should:
1. Lead change by looking from the “outside in.”  Direct the focus outside of the IT organization not inwards, working with business colleagues, providing executive leadership, guiding and coaching.
2. Demonstrate business value of IT. CIOs need to work with their business colleagues to show how technology is  helping to bring about change: whether it is  improving customer service levels, revenue or show the impact that IT investment can make on the business side. This requires collaboration with business managers and leaders. Such initiative takes a lot of networking and working together side-by-side.
3. Improve IT governance to be transparent about how IT decisions are made! Project prioritization should occur in a business planning meeting based on everyone’s buy-in and agreement rather than just within IT.
4. Lead the change management. Unfortunately, few senior business executives are skilled in leading all the major changes necessary to capture value from major IT-intensive initiatives. That is where the effective CIO comes in; being the change leader, ensuring that all the projects have a change management component and than working with the business to implement change is a way that CIOs will be more strategic.
The CIO of the next decade will be working with the business and lead the change management initiatives to ensure that technology enables the business goals. Are there other areas where CIOs can make a difference? It’d be great to hear everyone’s view!
Catherine Aczel Boivie
Catherine Aczel Boivie
Dr. Catherine Aczel Boivie is a widely respected executive with over 30 years of experience in the leadership of advancing the value of information technology as a business and education enabler. Prior executive roles includes: CEO Inventure Solutions and Senior Vice President of Information Technology/Facility Management for Vancity Credit Union; SVP of IT and Chief Information Officer at Pacific Blue Cross and Canadian Automobile Association of British Columbia. Catherine is also an experienced board member serving on several boards, including those of Commissioner for Complaints for Telecom-television Services, Canada Foundation for Innovation and MedicAlert Canada. Dr. Boivie is the founding Chair and President of the Chief Information Officers (CIO) Association of Canada that has over 400 Chief Information Officers as members across Canada. She has been publicly recognized for her contributions, including being named as one of Canada's top 100 most powerful women by the Women's Executive Network in the "Trailblazers and Trendsetters" category and the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee medal for being a "catalyst for technology transformation".

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