The Old CIO
A short while ago, the “IT guy” role in a business resembled a technical support engineer who would run when called, then diligently untangle wires and reconnect telephone lines. Back then, IT departments comprised of large computers that were located in air-conditioned facilities and required specialized expertise to run, program, and maintain.
Today, IT is far more wide-reaching and essential to every business, and IT leaders play meaningful roles in nearly every company. As a result, employees expect IT to provide powerful, easy-to-use systems that get the job done efficiently. Any tolerance for old-school, laggard departments is quickly disappearing.
The New CIO
The Chief Information Officer (CIO) role has evolved into a new mindset about strategic innovation. The CIO role now involves collaborating with all departments in the organization, having knowledge of mobile software, and working in an agile project management style.
Nowadays, modern (millennial) CEOs understand IT so well that expectations are set high for CIOs. The typical CEO understands that technology creates value and is willing to invest; they see it as key to business growth and future business strategy. This is a huge benefit, where an in-depth understanding of technology means that initiatives are quickly accepted and implemented.
CIOs should not get carried away with implementing new and updated technology, but instead, should focus on delivering results and assessing the best technology that should be used to achieve company objectives and focus on value creation. Often, the CIO should be the one to say “No”—no to new advances, no to the latest gadgets, and no to excessive spending. The CIO should be the one to determine the best course of action for the business and ensure that any new technology is more efficient, cost-effective, and easier to use.
The CIO role is more fluid than it used to be and it should be more open to different responsibilities. In the future, the focus of the CIO will be less on information management and more on reaping business opportunities through digital technologies.
How Can a Virtual CIO Help My Business?
The virtual CIO is the person or company you can go to for strategic advice on the latest technologies. They can also tell you how IT can give you a competitive advantage in your marketplace and help to run your business better. A virtual CIO has the advantage of being on the outside looking in.
So, what should you look for in a virtual CIO service? There are a number of skills to consider:
- Communication – CIOs must be good at communicating ideas and gathering feedback. Instead of saying “It has to be done this way,” they should listen and find solutions.
- Business acumen over technology skills – Being a CIO is much more about having a good strategic vision than being a master of technology; CIOs should consider the company's objectives and internal culture to develop the best strategy.
- Cybersecurity – A deep knowledge of risk and cybersecurity is essential; there needs to be an understanding of how to protect critical information assets in your organization. CIOs must fully understand the importance of security, how to put different security frameworks in place, and work with vendors.
- Data – A strong foundation in data analytics is also necessary for today's CIO. It's key for CIOs to be able to collect and analyze large sets of data and draw insights that can help the company's business strategy.
- Innovation – CIOs need to lead innovation; this involves thinking through about how to create and deliver everything from new business models to new solutions and processes, which involves developing the idea, and then incubating, promoting, and commercializing it.
Do you need a virtual CIO to develop your IT strategy? At INVAR Technologies, we provide a full, virtual CIO service to take your technology and IT needs to the next level and make it work for your business.