Nine Competencies to Elevate the CIO into a Business Leader

A survey by Deloitte found that the future of CIOs lies in stronger leadership. Right now, 55 percent of CIOs in the survey report they are primarily focused on operational tasks over strategic tasks, but 52 percent want to redistribute their focus. Deloitte says that transitioning from tech leader to business leader requires nine competencies in three functional areas:

  1. Driving agility
  2. Ensuring security and resilience
  3. Leveraging ecosystems
  4. Fusing business and technology strategy
  5. Developing talent
  6. Designing the IT operating model
  7. Shaping innovation
  8. Engaging customers
  9. Digitizing the enterprise

Competencies for Contemporary CIOs

The first functional area is operational stewardship, which involves a healthy skepticism of different purchases and anticipation of business needs. The first three competencies above apply here. Operations should be structured in an agile way and big decisions should be made about what to do with legacy technology. CIOs must also collaborate to develop security strategy and educate the business about what they can do. Lastly, when it comes to expanding ecosystems for innovation, CIOs should “include global incubators, innovation ecosystems, and innovation hubs.”

The next three competencies fall under IT leadership. Designing a robust IT operating model that is simultaneously agile yet grounded in good governance should be a priority. For starters, business and technology priorities must align; the argument is already settled on the additional value that comes from alignment. In addition, CIOs must develop talent to create a competent and specialized workforce, which will benefit the careers of individuals and also (perhaps more importantly) enable the business to keep pursuing innovation.

The final functional area is entrepreneurship, the drive to build, lead, and deliver a competitive advantage. These remaining competencies focus on cultivating innovation and honing in on what customers want. Deloitte has this to say about customer engagement:

Forty-five percent of the CIOs we surveyed in 2015 said that customers were the No. 1 business priority; a year later, that percentage climbed to 57 percent. IT and business strategies that are aligned enable—or even drive—breakthrough innovations that result in new and more customer-centric business models, markets, or even industries. For example, Boeing’s digital aviation unit uses data from thousands of aircraft-embedded, internet of things (IoT)-connected sensors to generate analytics that enable predictive aircraft maintenance, better fuel efficiency, and more effective fleet management.

The original article includes a self-assessment you can use to score your current leadership. You can view it here:

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