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How to Position CIO for Digital Success of Your Business
12 October, 2021
As the digital age continues to reshape business as we know it, it's vital to position your CIO as a key strategic leader within your organization rather than simply the manager of technology infrastructure and IT services.
In fact, CIOs' influence on their business is a 10-year high, with 60% of CIOs having frequent access to the main boardroom.
Therefore, organizations must develop strategies to put their CIOs on the front seat of their digital transformation to ensure digital success. That is where Pronix Digital Transformation Services come in!
Pronix Inc is making technology implementation simple and cost effective, supporting the Business IT operations and growth of SMB's and enterprise-level companies in a wide array of industries.
Why is it Important to Position Your CIO for Digital success?
As a business leader, you need a clear idea of where your digital efforts are headed. To do that, it's important to clarify what you expect from your CIO. After all, technology is both an investment and a tool—it can be used as part of your company's operational strategy or as an overarching asset designed to produce revenue. So how do you do it?
Here are eight simple strategies every organization can use to position your CIO for digital success.
#Step 1: Foster Communication
Understanding how (and why) IT should be used is an important first step in positioning your CIO for digital success. The more you communicate with your CIO about your business goals, priorities, and vision for growing your business, the more impact they can have on those goals.
Once that's done, they can work with your entire team—business partners included—to develop strategies around those goals and meet your expectations. By setting a strong foundation now, you will help ensure digital transformation stays on track as long as possible.
The more successful it is from Day 1, the longer you'll continue seeing benefits over time. CIOs that perform well in any business environment do so partly because their organizations are great at creating and articulating their set expectations.
On the same, the CIO should have well-defined personal and program goals that map to your business objective so they can center and execute strategies around them to maximize results. Also, be sure to consider what digital success looks like to them at a macro level and how their ideologies can scale and affect your business.
#Step 2: Invest in the Right Tools
Adding sophistication requires focus and investment. Investing in the right tools is integral to your business and more so to the CIO's capacity to perform.
This requires reinvention of your technology delivery model. Simply put, your IT needs to change how it functions by embracing modern practices such as Agile, DevOps. What's more, it requires improving IT services with advanced capabilities such as end-to-end automation, SaaS, PaaS, the cloud, and many more technologies.
You may also need to build small teams around top engineers and develop flexible tech partnerships with top technology vendors. Remember, in most cases, your IT is as good as your tools and capabilities.
Outdated tools or limited resources can't help your CIO accomplish beyond what those tools and resources can achieve. Invest a variety of tools to improve communication, implementation, deployment, and all relevant business processes.
#Step 3: Think through Reporting Routes and Consequences
Whoever the CIO reports to in your organization significantly impacts their ability to perform. With the role you expect CIO to play in mind, the significance of the role to your business, and the compromises associated with the role, choose an effective reporting structure.
Nevertheless, determining an effective reporting structure for the CIO is not as easy as it sounds. It requires a thorough understanding of your organization's IT objectives and top leadership's perspective on IT.
Choose a reporting structure that gives your CIO executive access and the freedom they need to effectively motivate and direct anyone across the organization to advance IT initiatives.
#Step 4: Empowering CIOs and Employees for Digital Success
According to McKinsey's 2018 IT strategy survey, Top-quartile IT organizations are more likely to have an integrated or fully digital operating model.
Digital Success cannot happen without buy-in from every employee within your organization. Employees are any CIOs best weapon - they help CIOs implement your company's digital vision. Ideally, businesses must support the CIO in their Culture revolutionary quest. After all, an effective digital strategy requires a culture that supports and empowers the talent.
With top leadership backing, CIOs can promote collaboration across their technology teams and other teams like the business team, cybersecurity, etc., to kick start a successful transformation. In practice, this approach enables CIOs to radically reduce IT barriers by incorporating IT practices early into development and working closely with every team on an ongoing basis to execute.
#Step 5: Make Them Feel Valued
Regardless of the paycheck, CIOs want to work where they're valued. One way to create that kind of environment is to provide CIOs with more independence by giving them the benefit of the doubt. This includes letting them lead their team without interference, letting them hire talent, reducing ineffective bureaucratic processes, such as time-consuming reports, standard operating procedures, multiple rounds of approval, etc.
You reward the CIO and their teams to boost team morale. Such and more initiatives are a powerful way to foster a sense of value and can heighten digital success value.
#Step 6: Allocate Wisely
Focusing on digital success is about preventing your CIO from getting buried under an avalanche of work. Most CIOs have more work than they can handle, thanks to limited budgets and too many projects going on simultaneously.
When leadership does not view IT as a central feature to the business but as a cost of doing business, companies often struggle to create value. Here, the CIO is perceived as a technical custodian of IT technologies. The goal becomes to find ways to minimize IT drain on revenue and meet predetermined IT requirements, resulting in underfunding or limited budgets.
It's essential for every organization aspiring to be a digital leader to allocate resources intelligently and creatively to reflect their digital goals. With such, CIOs can be better equipped to meet organizational aspirations without the fear of being weighed down by woefully underfunded budgets.
#Step 7: Exercising Patience
We joke about the proverbial Rome - that it wasn't built in one day, which means that it takes some time to create great things. Similarly, digital transformation requires time and effort—but it will not happen overnight.
Many organizations are, however, caught up in the false narrative of overnight digital success. Enterprises already reaping the fruits of digital transformation were early adopters and have progressively grown through their journey. If you want to transform your business into a digital powerhouse, you need to start small and understand that it will likely take months or even years to reach your final destination.
As such, you have to exercise patience with your CIO. However, this doesn't mean that you skimp on accountability and responsibility. No. It means ensuring that your CIO leads your business on the right track to your digital transformation journey while celebrating small wins and learning from mistakes.
Again, this comes down to how well you communicate with your CIO about your business goals, priorities, and vision for digital success. Additionally, having well-defined personal and goals for the CIO that map to your overall business objective
#Step 8: Encourage Unconventional Thinking
To achieve true digital success in business, organizations must stop focusing on technology as a means to an end. Instead, they should focus on what technology allows them to do—not simply what tasks can be automated or sped up through tech.
Ultimately, business leaders need to cultivate an environment where CIOs and their teams can ask questions like what our organization does differently with digital technologies. Versus simply what can they digitize? This shift in thinking will allow CIOs, their team, and other departments to develop more innovative products and services that will keep your customers engaged over time.
Additionally, encouraging unconventional thinking helps tear down silos between departments. Often time's departments don't work together because they're afraid of stepping on each other's toes or breaking strict processes that may have been set out by one group years ago. This kind of collaboration is critical for creating an environment where new ideas can be considered at any time by anyone in your organization. Get everyone involved by bringing together different teams to brainstorm new ideas together instead of working independently.
By moving beyond what seems doable and thinking bigger, your CIO (chief information officer) and their team can create and deliver projects that drive real change and engage more people.
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Digital transformation is no longer a choice but a necessity every business needs to survive the competition and stay ahead of evolving customer needs and expectations.
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