Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What should the Role of the CIO be In creating the Enterprise Strategy?

A highly strategic and highly mature CIOs will run IT as a business, to directly make an impact on both business’s bottom line efficiency and top-line business growth.

Modern CIO is perhaps one of the most paradoxical and sophisticated leadership roles in contemporary business today. As they are leading one of the most complex and dynamic functions of business, and managing one of the most intelligent groups of talent in the organization. What should the role of the CIO be in creating the enterprise strategy, and how to define the CIO leadership maturity?



CIOs as an IT leaders need to spend significant time in strategic planning, as IT strategy is an integral element of corporate strategy.The CIO role should have the same responsibilities as the rest of the C-level group with regards to creating the enterprise strategy. Do not confuse enterprise strategy with any specific field, especially in this case IT. Enterprise strategy is bigger than a department or a group. If the CIO comes only to speak about IT, he or she only acts as a functional manager, but in fact, the CIO is the most senior IT executive in an organization, and therefore, must be at the enterprise strategy table for co-creating business strategy, with IT as an integral element, from start to finish and then onto being part of the execution plan, owning and driving IT-enabled business goals as a result.


CIO should have a holistic view of the business from top business leaders’ perspectives and to provide the added value of technology. Now, Information Systems are impacting every business activities at the organization, CIOs should have the strong business knowledge to be able to communicate with the other executives to demonstrate that IT capabilities as a strategic enabler of the business and CIOs to be part of the executive team for articulating the business strategy. Because information is the lifeblood and technology is often the innovation disruptor, businesses demand IT more as a growth engine, rather than just a back office support function, to develop and innovate core products and processes, so should IT understand what it can offer to meet that demand and even surpass it by sparking business innovations made possible via technology push and information pulling together. CIOs as IT leaders must convey the vision and communicate IT value proposition thoroughly.

Part of the challenge of being a CIO is determining what works where, and what works best for the business both from strategic and tactical perspective. The CIO role as C-level is to contribute to the formulation of the business strategy where new trends of technology will provide strategic capabilities to the business that will enhance the competitive advantages of the organization. The objective of the IT strategy is not just to be aligned with business strategy, but the IT strategy is an integral part of business strategy. The uncertainty of the business ecosystem will be the real challenge to the CIO as to design an IT framework which has the complexity due to the technology trends at the different layers while maintaining its Agility for accommodating the dynamics of the business requirements.


The biggest challenge now is the increasing rate of change, and this isn't going to change! Strategy execution is no longer linear steps, but a dynamic continuum. IT services and solutions which enable strategy implementation, absolutely need to be able to respond in an agile way and make continuous improvement. CIOs as business strategist have to always “keep the end” in mind, focus on solving business problems, not just overcoming technology challenges. And high-mature CIOs will run IT as a business, to directly make an impact on both business’s bottom line efficiency and top-line business growth.



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