The CIO of today can no longer focus on just technology.
Our world is shaping itself more and more around tech every single day. The enterprise has been feeling the tug of consumerization, the strain of mobility, the continuous development of the Internet of Things for years now, and CIOs are tackling problems greater than ever before. Users are demanding more convenience in spite of the rise of corresponding threats, as is the rest of the C-suite. So while an IT decision maker was once well-versed in technology and removed from the business, that’s no longer the case.
Since tech is now a tremendous business driver, IT is more about the human needs shaping tech-oriented business decisions. Enterprises hiring new CIOs are looking for resume experience that reflects soft skills and business acumen. Leaders bearing a cross-disciplinary background are of greater value to both business and customer, and IT decision makers are starting to take notice.
Erika Van Noort, director of consulting at Softchoice, recently told CIO.com, “Our theory is that within leadership roles, folks have to understand the entire business so they can better serve customers — both external and the internal customers, users, that IT supports. Our external clients are facing skills shortages not with technology and certifications, but with business skills and seeing the larger business strategy."
As the innovation engine continues to toss new disruptors into the enterprise, a CIO has to be able to make a business case for the changes happening. Social, mobile, analytics, and cloud will continue to mold and shape the way tech fuses with business, and an IT decision maker is tasked with catering to the customer while still satisfying the business. So it’s necessary to learn how to communicate with and understand the needs of each business unit that relies on tech.
Listen to and Learn From Your Users
Here at Intel, we’ve designed The Way We Work program, which aims to provide workstations better catered to the needs of employees. Our reasoning was to acknowledge that we, as humans, work better when in a happy environment. Unhappy work conditions can often give way to counter productivity. Improvements have ranged from digital whiteboards in meeting rooms to communal workspaces to wireless video conferencing equipment. And one day, digital voice transcription and location-based sensors that allow users to find coworkers. Although it was a costly initial investment, the return seen through greater employee productivity has been undeniable.
The ideal is to let your users guide your strategy. IT is all about customer service, and our customers have changed. So put on your listening ears, strap on your CEO hat, and be ready to learn.