Friday, April 4, 2014

What are the most Important Skills for the CIO of the Future?

The skills can be sharpened, but the character is the real thing.

The future of IT and the future of IT leadership are always hot debates in CIO communities. What are the most important skills for the CIO of the future? Is it leadership, general business knowledge; interpersonal communications; knowledge of applying IT to business; or technology awareness? The value of the SKILLS polls below is in observing how the responses for the MOST IMPORTANT SKILL across the positions differ & how they have changed over time.

·         General Business Knowledge

·          Interpersonal/Communications
·         Knowledge of applying IT to Business
« your vote
·         Leadership

·         Technology Awareness

Knowledge of applying IT to the business strategy: In real terms, the role of the CIO is to carry forward the business and use the available tools (in this case, the technology) as applied and customize the same for transformation and furthering the business. If you see your business as an "asset under construction", then the CIO is not only responsible for cost but is the enabler and architect of new business value. And the most "engaged" CIOs need to be confident that their IT is totally integrated and IT is the business.

Technology awarenessAs IT leaders, CIOs need to have technologic vision and awareness; as more often than not, technology becomes the game changer and innovation driver for businesses. The vision should have a direction which sets in clarity. Setting a vision that isn't high enough doesn't challenge the organization to excel. But establishing a vision that is based on unrealistic expectations will either discount the value of even creating the vision or disenfranchise stakeholders. A CIO’s technological vision should be attainable subject to current times and its ability to adapt to changing times and help the business gain a competitive advantage for the long term.

Business knowledgeThe expectation of a single person serving as omniscient technology sage is unreasonable. Often the salient way for identifying the tech solutions lies deep in the weeds of the individual business use-case and tech solution, far beyond executive view. CIOs must be business leaders, drawing from the experience and expertise of those around them, crafting and casting the vision for the ways in which tomorrow's business technologies can create sustainable business value.

Interpersonal/Communications skills: Assuming that all the rest must be in place as well. To be the most effective leader, you need to display the hard tech skills and knowledge, but more importantly, you need to be welcomed and invited to the table, able to listen and translate business needs (what's said, and what's not) into actionable states and clear value delivered. These are part of the leadership skills anyhow.

Transformational leadershipLast but not least, transformational leadership skill is critical for innovating and transforming IT as well as the business. Running an innovative IT is no longer “nice to have,” but 'must have goals to catalyze digital transformation. Unfortunately, there are still some organizations that see IT like the back office in doing "something good" for the business. Transforming this perception into being a real business partner in driving the business is the most important skill. Definitely "Knowledge of applying IT to Business" is a prerequisite for this.

Future of IT leadership is critical in business long-term success, skills can be sharpened, but the character is the real thing, future of IT leaders have to be lifetime learners, influential thought leaders, customer champion and talent master.


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