Nowadays, IT has permeated into every core process of businesses and is the key component of differentiated business capability. CIO as IT leader, how can you become more business savvy and strategic cognizant?
CIOs have to become business savvy. Like any C-suite members, they have to participate in forming the organization's strategy, its implementation, and assessing its performance. They have to make sure that all IT investments are aligned with the organization's strategy and the approved priorities. Within their understanding, they are responsible for highlighting evolving IT technologies such as analytics to the board members and their impact on the organization and its strategies.
CIOs need to cover the Business Dimension as well as the Technology Dimension with their team. Would even go one step further, that the best CIO understands what current Technology Innovations can add business value and transfer this to the business. The best IT managers & leaders always have a strong understanding of what the business does, how it does it, and how it could be better with 360 degrees of view. They've also been excellent at articulating the benefits of making changes to the business' operating model, and showing how IT can make these changes happen. Above all, they've been strategy influencers and persuaders.
Empowering CIO and improving IT maturity is the two-way effort. In other words, the CXOs and the board members must empower their CIOs and enable IT to ensure its success and its positive impact on the organization's performance. Most of the organizations still consider IT as a service and is normally treated as the cost. There is a reluctance to involve IT leaders in business strategies to consider digital/technical resources for quick and desired results. The real requests for NEW initiatives really come from the business, and IT can bring things forward - but the business units can actually fund and get things done. Organizations, where management/business is technologically evolved and keep up with digital/technology developments around them becomes key drivers for the desired synchronization with IT teams.
CIOs are absolutely vital in the digital age. IT professionals can work their tails off to "keep the lights on" and try to make their business move, but it takes creative IT pros to make the business really grow. Hence, business-savvy CIOs can envision the upcoming business trends and ride the digital waves for accelerating business growth; enable cross-functional business communication and collaboration, and enlighten both end customer and internal customer with tailored solutions and delight experience.