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The Roles of a Modern Day CIO

Biren Parikh, CIO, CERA Sanitaryware Limited

Technology has a vital role in all sectors for growth. In other words, every business has use of technology at the center of its heart. Now a days, mostly all enterprise (small or big) will work through computer & other IT peripherals i.e. Computer, Laptop, Mobile, Printer, Scanner, etc. Most departments use technology for their day-to-day operations. Hence, a CIO is required to know every aspect of operations in a company. In general, every company essentially becomes a technology company to be the leader in the segment. Today, CIOs have proven that their job is one of the most challenging & important functions in any organization.

The role of a CIO & the technology leadership at large is different today than it was just some years ago. CIOs are now considered as a Digital Director to the board for the digital journey of the organization. The position of a CIO gives overall visibility of the entire organization for its operations & strategic digital levels. Many departments can take their own decision for automation or digitalization, but it's in silos. A CIO can play a strategic role to push digitalization through visibility with the organization's echo system while coordinating all the department & management.

Other than managing technology for organizational growth, CIOs will be focusing on leveraging digital capabilities and new age technologies to enhance productivity and experience for customers and employees. CIO defines the IT strategy, tools, devices, and infrastructure that create a productive internal environment. Now CIO ae focusing on the true value of leadership, communication, agility, and the other non-technical competencies. Let’s check out check some of the must-have qualities of modern CIOs:

Business Transformation
Business / functional knowledge is must for a CIO. You need to have good & in-depth knowledge of business process i.e. Sales, Purchase, Production, HR, Finance, etc. This knowledge will give additional advantage for implementation, integration & also will lead to success. Business process knowledge will give insight into the adoption of new technological solutions, which will be best for organization.

Adoption of Technology
Adoption of new technologies is key quality for a CIO. But keep it in mind that all the technologies may not apply to one organization, i.e. one size does not fit for all. Try to learn it through internal, external or peer-to-peer networking. Find use cases for it & try POC (Proof of concept), if it goes well go for implementation. If the CIO doesn’t have a strong grasp of technology, then the person will ultimately struggle in the role.

Problem Solving
Proactive instead of reactive approach will solve most of the problems in an organization. Every regular interval asks the user department for requirements & then finds a good solution, before the user will come with a problem/requirement. Always be ready with pros & cons of the solution and problem.

Data driven Mindset
We are all aware that data is the new oil. Today, very heavy voluminous data comes from everywhere & anywhere to the organization. This data is in the form of structure & un-structure. CIO should understand the importance of data & can make a robust data strategy for growth of future success.

Logical Thinking
Don’t be in a hurry to complete a project without proper planning. Move ahead with step by step implementation with good logical strategy.

A CIO must be a good coordinator between the business user & technical team. So the user puts the requirement & you need to understand, analyze & suggest the best technology solution and implementation plan. So, gathering business requirements is a key factor for the success of teamwork.

Emotional Intelligence
To handle remote management can test our knowledge & patience, which can be controlled through our emotional intelligence. Regular follow-up, reminder, care are key factors to work done. User experience expertise is important, as is the ability to manage people amid great change and uncertainty.

Adoption of new technologies is key quality for a CIO

On the digital transformation path, culture change is the most difficult part of any technology leader’s job. Users are always keen to have a comfort zone & less willing to come out of it. So, the CIO can showcase the value of the change & then the user can adopt it. Proper and regular training & learning solutions are key for success in change management. Approach from top to bottom is a very effective method to handle such tasks.

Budget impact needs to be analyzed properly to derive nearly TCO. Always try to maintain the budget limit for a project, otherwise other projects will get impacted. For growth of an organization, build digital strategy for efficient digital workspace – secure work space against internal as well external threats. Implement robust cyber security fences for work space. Also, always be ready for responding to the pandemics like COVID situation.

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