When it comes to making an impact as a CIO, there is no single blueprint for success. As with any executive role, every CIO brings their unique personal characteristics and experience to the job.
The most productive, however, tend to share five attributes that maximise their ability to get things done. In our experience, being a productive IT leader depends on strong capabilities in a range of areas, including:
- Time management
- IT service management
- Project planning and delivery
- Software implementations
Success in these areas is made easier by these skills:
1. Organisational and time management
CIOs frequently juggle competing demands. Running meetings, leading decision making, negotiating budgets, resolving staff concerns and keeping the organisational IT machine ticking can combine to be a drain on the CIO’s limited time.
Many accept this perpetual time deficit as part of the territory. However, in the long term, it can lead to diminished productivity.
The most effective CIOs know that time management is not just about punctuality. It is also about implementing systems and processes that streamline everything from planning and prioritisation to expectation setting and reporting.
2. Detailed understanding of ERP and infrastructure
As the owner of the IT budget, CIOs need to fully understand their organisation’s technology and how it serves business needs. Knowing its shortcomings and strengths will help avoid costly oversights and purchasing blunders. Approaches for enhancing this understanding include:
- Regularly talking to all teams, including marketing, sales, finance and customer service to understand their pain points
- Setting a tangible technology vision that encourages sound and executable strategy
- Evaluating how technology can best be used to create value within and outside the organisation
- Investing in robust IT solutions that can cut operational costs and increase efficiency and responsiveness
- Fostering a productive relationship with an IT services provider to deepen knowledge of the latest ERP tools and infrastructure
3. Robust knowledge of vendors and service providers
Analyst firm Gartner predicted in 2005 that future IT careers would not be about technology, but rather managing a range of service providers – and this is exactly what has happened.
In light of this, IT professionals must be effective in managing vendors and third-party service providers. Cultivating relationships with providers will ensure CIOs can stay informed about the latest developments in ERP and infrastructure services.
The knowledge resulting from such relationships can lead to an improved capacity to align technology with business objectives.
Here are our top tips for engaging with vendors and service providers:
- Have a crystal-clear understanding of expectations and performance metrics to convey to potential providers
- Do your research by objectively assessing which IT requirements would benefit most from outsourcing
- Determine the cultural compatibility of potential providers by engaging with the process owners as well as the sales people
- Use a team approach in contract negotiations – involve managers and operational staff who will be working with the vendor
- Build a collaborative partnership with the supplier
4. Strategic, proactive thinking
Technology is now instrumental in supporting CIOs to carry out their key responsibilities around IT strategy, business productivity, conducting analytics and reporting, ensuring uptime and driving innovation. As a result, strategic thinking has gained a new dimension.
CIOs with a comprehensive strategic understanding are better positioned to:
- Enhance positive feedback and user experiences
- Increase productivity through cost savings
- Successfully execute strategy in line with business requirements
Technology must provide the digital infrastructure for efficient processes and proactive strategy. It should assist in deepening customer relationships and transform businesses into dynamic and mobile organisations.
With this in mind, the ability for CIOs to champion the role of technology in increasing productivity and profitability is significant.
5. Razor-sharp communication
As CIOs progress from tech-focused jobs to leadership positions, success increasingly depends on their ability to communicate. Our tips for effective communication include:
- Maintain a people-oriented outlook so messages can reach those at all levels with clarity
- Spend time developing trusted relationships with major customers
- Turn to departmental leaders to learn about what matters in the business — customers, products, markets and business processes
- Establish functional relationships with teams to uncover ways to exploit technology for smarter business communication
How the right IT services provider can help
A plethora of opportunities exist for CIOs to capitalise on the availability of reliable, easy-to-use, responsive IT services. In addition to making it easier for CIOs to be productive, engaging a top IT services provider can deliver impressive results, including:
- Reduced IT expenditure and upfront costs
- Slashed labour costs
- Minimal downtime
- Flexible system upgrades and maintenance
- Access to the latest enterprise-level technology
- Boosted productivity
- More accurate budgets
- A future-proof IT environment
While being tech savvy is an integral component of the CIO’s role, success hinges on a suite of personal and business skills and the support of industry experts. Honing these capabilities and understanding how to streamline processes is critical to a CIO’s success and, ultimately, to the success of the organisation.
Need help becoming more productive? Contact us today to discover how Virtuelle Group’s managed IT services can help.