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Decoding the role of today’s CIO

Published on Saturday, 30 Jul 2016

With the IT landscape continually evolving, the chief information officers (CIOs) of today need to become enablers and drivers of change.

We recently surveyed CIOs across Asia on their role, and how aspiring IT leaders can get ahead. Most of the CIOs we spoke to had a solid technical background and acknowledged that fast-changing economies and technologies mean they need to be proactive to be innovative. Keeping up-to-date with technological advances was seen to be a key professional challenge – alongside meeting company objectives.

Today’s CIOs need to assess new technology and sort fads from tools that add value to the business. They are expected to process new technical information quickly and translate these for the rest of the executive suite.

The CIO role is becoming more influential, and 50 per cent of respondents predict the need for CIOs to become more innovative in the next five years.

It’s unsurprising, then, that 70 per cent of CIOs say that international experience has been of considerable benefit to their career. CIOs are aware of the benefits of a broader understanding of different cultures and practices, and exposure to new technologies in other markets.

CIOs also need more than technical knowledge – they need to be commercially involved in the business and have a variety of relevant skills. Strategic planning was rated the most important skill for a CIO to possess, followed by people management and stakeholder engagement.

CIOs should also have a genuine desire to enhance organisations, as they are in a unique position to act as a link between business and IT strategy.

Aligning strategic requirements with operational budgets and the workforce was cited as the greatest business challenge CIOs will face in the next year along with the recruitment, retention and attraction of staff. They are also aware that more needs to be done to encourage women into IT to address talent shortages. 

This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Decoding CIOs.

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