10 Skills CIOs Need To Survive, Thrive In 2016 - InformationWeek
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11/11/2015
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Jessica Davis
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10 Skills CIOs Need To Survive, Thrive In 2016

CIOs need to shift perspectives and skill sets for the business transformation underway. So, what's the profile of the successful CIO in 2016?
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(Image: hh5800/iStockphoto)

(Image: hh5800/iStockphoto)

Cloud services, mobile devices, and the always-on Internet have shifted the way business is done today. Not only can customers can access research at their fingertips wherever they are, but they want instant service, and if your company can't provide it, they will find another company that can in seconds.

This environment is challenging businesses to transform themselves as well as creating a new generation of CIOs. Consider GE CIO Jim Fowler delivering a keynote address at the recent AWS re:Invent, where he committed to moving most of the company's workload to the cloud. Or, think about Doug Porter, CIO of Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, leveraging analytics to help customers get improved value and quality from medical services. Or, consider Steve Curts, Chief Strategy Officer at American Express Global Business Travel, unshackling the business from legacy technology investments and building a new customer-focused infrastructure in the cloud.

All these CIOs are agents of change, and they all have certain traits in common. They made serving their customers top priority. They didn't spend all their time and effort on legacy systems. They worked closely with other members of the C-suite to facilitate change.

[ See CIO Certifications To Advance Your Career. ]

"There's a new breed of CIO that is emerging," Sharyn Leaver, vice president and leader of the CIO practice at Forrester Research told InformationWeek. CIOs are now allocating more than 50% of their budgets to the business technology agenda -- technology that is all about winning, serving, and retaining customers.

"CIOs who 'get' this are having more of an influence within their organizations as a result," she said.

So, what's the profile of the successful CIO in 2016? What specific skills will this individual possess? We spoke with Leaver and with Cliff Condon, chief research officer at Forrester, to get a deeper perspective of what CIOs need to be successful both in their own organizations and in the greater market. Here's what we learned.

Once you've reviewed their guidance, tell us what you think in the comments section below. Does their recipe for success apply to you in your current position? Is your role changing? Does the company you work for "get it"?

Jessica Davis has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology at titles including IDG's Infoworld, Ziff Davis Enterprise's eWeek and Channel Insider, and Penton Technology's MSPmentor. She's passionate about the practical use of business intelligence, ... View Full Bio

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kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
11/24/2015 | 6:08:27 PM
shifting perspective
Most of these skills are ones needed in any year. I like the idea that we are shifting from saving every penny to making a better customer experience, as least for a customer's perspective. I'm about done with any company trying to wring every last dollar out by leaving me with a less than stellar customer experience.
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
11/18/2015 | 6:45:22 AM
Re: No Control? No Problem.
I think you're on track, ashu001. I'm in that boat. We aren't doing a lot of public cloud because we have Datacenter that don't require much ongoing investment. The tipping point will come when our platforms go EOL and we have to make a buy or rent type of decision. In the meantime, I'm squeezing everything I can from our hardware and software to drive forward innovations and business growth.
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
11/18/2015 | 6:40:13 AM
Re: No Control? No Problem.
If you are stuck in the land of cost center, the situation is not hopeless. Forging positive relationships will help the CIO change his or her reputation. Also, they can take what funding is available through cost savings and start building up small wins through new innovations.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
11/17/2015 | 11:44:58 PM
Re: No Control? No Problem.
jaggibons,

That depends on whether Business sees IT as a Cost-centre or an Innovation/Profit-Centre.

If its just the Former then you have no choice but to go in with limited Budgets and CAPEX and make do with Transistionary strategies.

Sad But true reality today.

 
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
11/17/2015 | 11:43:09 PM
Re: No Control? No Problem.
Broadway,

Believe me as someone who has been on Both sides of the Fence,I know how hard consultants try to force Solutions down the Throats of Enterprises every so often!

LOL!

You have to give Consumers time to adapt to changes;even in such as fast-changing space.

But first,you have to understand what their main business is like and what their needs are and when they are falling short(especially versus the Competition).

Its only then that you can sell them a most effective solution for their needs and will come back to you again repeatedly for future needs.

I know most CEOs and CFOs have forgotten the value of Relationships which can lead to small but recurring Revenue Streams for Software consultants/Vendors but I have'nt forgotten them or the value they can provide.

 
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
11/17/2015 | 9:35:21 PM
Re: No Control? No Problem.
Ashu, no doubt you know more on the topic than I. I suppose I was just listening too hard to consultants' speak, and they can talk a big game about digital and how firms must embrace it or forever be lost.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
11/16/2015 | 10:28:43 PM
Re: No Control? No Problem.
Broadway,

If you accept the fact that most CIOs have already sunk in Millions(and in some cases Billions of Dollars) worth of IT Investments into the Enterprise it makes no sense for them to rip and replace everything with new stuff(especially if they don't really have the budget to pay for it).

I would rather use that Budget to hire more talented Engineers/Coders to design new and Innovative Features which can help my Business do its job better than the competition.

Does that make me in the minority amongst Senior IT Execs?

I don't think so.

Anyone who has to wrestle with Finance over Limited Budgets will agree with my opinion here.

 
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
11/16/2015 | 12:38:11 PM
Enabling alliances
The points about partnering with others in the C-Suite is critical. Without collaboration and support for and from the CMO and CDO (and any other CxO), the CIO will become the irrelevant guy who's always spouting off about why we can't do this or that.

No one is better positioned, educated or has the best experience to lead digital innovation and transformation. CIOs need to grab that baton and move the organizatio forward. Find ways to delight customers. Find ways to be more fiscally sound and stable. Find ways to enable the rest of the organization to do what they need to do without being held back by the limitations of legacy technology and poor communications.
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
11/16/2015 | 12:35:01 PM
Re: No Control? No Problem.
Good point about bolting new onto old. You still have the old, and that old tech will be the anchor that slows down the innovation and progress of the new.

This sounds much more like a transitionary tactic than a strategy for long-term success. Figure out how to jettison the old technology in favor of tools that are cheaper, more flexible and more agile. That's one of the ingredients to the recipe for success.
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
11/15/2015 | 9:29:54 PM
Re: No Control? No Problem.
It's interesting that you mention being able to bolt new tech onto old tech as a requisite for CIO success. Recent research I've seen on the digital organization --- and how to get there --- speaks to need to stop doing this bolting. What's going to give first?
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