A sentence from “Business Transformation and the CIO Role” that I read recently has stuck with me, “CIOs have a mandate to innovate in this changing environment. But the daily concerns of running IT and inadequate resources often hold them back.” Based on our experience, here are the success tips for CIOs that you can implement to ensure that you are setting them up to succeed. 

    Perhaps you have recently welcomed a new CIO to your organization and are feeling the promise of change. Or maybe you have new business imperatives and have discussed a new mandate with a CIO whom you have worked with for years. You know your CIO has a massive responsibility and big job at hand, you also know she is a senior and capable leader. At the same time, you also wonder what you can do as CEO or senior executive to support her?

    Whether you have just promoted or hired a new CIO or have a new mandate for your existing CIO, it is essential to ensure you set them up for success. The following are three areas to contemplate based on Stratford’s experience, working with a multitude of senior leadership teams and CIO’s.

    The CIO at the Executive Table

    First, position your CIO as a strategic partner and critical part of your leadership team. It is important that your CIO is at the executive table when your team is discussing business strategy.

    In a digital first world, organizations will be hard pressed to drive successful business strategy, growth, customer engagement and satisfaction, without a robust integrated digital perspective.

    Long gone are the days when the CIO’s sole focus was to provide technical services to the business. While those remain as table stakes, the real reasons for having internal IT teams and CIOs are to advance business strategy.

    The CIO’s roadmap

    A CIO will often come in with a desire to achieve quick wins and develop a multi-year roadmap driven by business strategy. However, many things will divide their attention including immediate firefighting, addressing unmitigated risks, a backlog of unprioritized projects or dealing with legacy systems.

    They may find skills or leadership gaps in their team, not to mention cultural resistance to change. Yet a strategic IT roadmap and its implementation are essential to ensuring your organization is leveraging digital opportunities for growth and success.

    Ensure your CIO has budget flexibility to expand their personal and team capacity with the right type of consulting services. An objective external perspective can lean-in and make the difference between good intentions that are stalled by distractions and a focused effort for advancement. With this support on their side, the CIO can rapidly have an objective ecosystem assessment and co-create a strategic roadmap to set important milestones and drive change.

    Challenge your CIO with business objectives

    If the IT department at your organization is seen primarily as a cost-center, then you are not alone. However leading organizations and CIOs are shifting this perspective. IT can become a driver for growth and efficiency and/or profitability.

    With an IT roadmap anchored in business strategy and a cultural shift to an innovative strategic partner, IT can do a lot more than you think.

    Integrate IT into your business strategy and challenge your CIO to innovate in areas critical to your business, such as utilizing data to detect and solve business problems or improving customer experience with new digital and information technologies.

    Your CIO can benefit from external customized advisory and, most crucially, the added leadership capacity to implement critical components of your new roadmap.

    I’m reminded of a report I read a while back titled “Business Transformation and the CIO Role”, that I think summed up the plight of CIOs very well, “CIOs have a mandate to innovate in this changing environment. But the daily concerns of running IT and inadequate resources often hold them back.”

    We’d love to chat with you about how Stratford’s deep strategic expertise married with IM/IT Operational Assessment can empower CIOs with an IT Ecosystem which better meets current and future business needs. If you’d like to learn more about Stratford Strategic IT services, please reach out to info@stratford.group.

    3 level white staircase with CIO at the bottom looking upward. Each landing has 1 of the 3 success tips for CIOs. 1 - Seat at the Executive Table, 2- CIO's Roadmap, 3 - Challenge with business objectives

    About Rana Chreyh

    A senior executive, professional engineer, and ivy league executive MBA business graduate with over 25 years of accomplishments in technology and business domains, Rana’s experience includes digital strategy development and implementation and large-scale solution delivery including for non-profits, technology start-ups and global fortune 500 companies.  

    Rana is recognized for her ability to seamlessly transverse and integrate business and IT strategy due to her broad and deep experience profile and industry expertise in technology, manufacturing, process engineering, medical device, HealthTech and healthcare. As Practice Leader, Management Consulting at Stratford, Rana brings her leadership, knowledge, experience and her team’s expertise to the table to meet your specific needs.