5 Options for CIO Education

CIOs need continuing education, yet they face compressed periods of time when they can afford to be away. Which courses and conferences fit the bill?

Mary E. Shacklett, President of Transworld Data

November 9, 2022

4 Min Read
scene of a conference with microphone in foreground
Amnat Buakaew via Alamy Stock

As we move deep into the fourth quarter of 2022 and look ahead to 2023, CIOs are planning budgets, authorizing continuing education for key staff members -- and also planning their own.

For CIOs, education must come in abbreviated timeframes. It must deliver on key issues where CIOs need insights and background. Some of these issues involve emerging technologies and call for leadership tips as the business digitalizes. Others are basic blocking and tackling issues, such as gaining a thorough understanding of corporate finance and how the end business ticks.

Here are five options for CIO education:

The MIT Sloan CIO Symposium

Monday & Tuesday, May 15 & 16, 2023

Royal Sonesta Hotel, Cambridge, MA

The MIT Sloan CIO Symposium is a two-day seminar that covers current technology topics and trends. Discussions center on the challenges that CIOs face in the current business environment and success strategies for business leadership. There are opportunities for CIOs to share experiences and network with other CIOS, CDOs and CEOs. Thought leaders from academia, technology companies, consultancies, and enterprises present sessions. There is a focus on real world “in the trenches” issues that CIOs face.

This is an ideal program to learn about technology directions, current challenges, and trends, and how academic and industry thought leaders are addressing these issues. Digitalization, AI, organizational collaboration, talent procurement and retention have all been recent topics.

Gartner CIO Leadership Forum

February 27 – 28, 2023

Phoenix, AZ

The Gartner CIO leadership Forum is a thought leadership conference designed for CIOs. Industry experts present topics on the future of work and where technology fits into that picture, as well as trends and practices in digital business, and topics such as how to be a dynamic leader as businesses face change.

The goal of the conference is to brief CIOs on the latest leadership, business and technology trends and practices, and to have attendees leave with personalized insights and detailed plans to successfully lead a digital enterprise.

Past priorities that this conference have focused on included the following: approaches to driving revenue opportunities through customer centricity; tactics for retaining and acquiring top talent; the evolution of the CIO role; leveraging ecosystems to co-create organizational capabilities; and executing customer centric solutions.

Gartner Application Innovation & Business Solutions Summit

June 13-14, 2023

Tokyo, Japan

Earlier in 2022, the Gartner Application Innovation and Business Solutions Summit focused on application strategies, artificial intelligence, application programming interface (API) strategies, software engineering leadership, and enterprise architecture. It brought together application development leaders, application and solution architects, business technology strategists and software engineering experts.

For CIOS, the value of this summit is its focus on key technologies and technology “deeper dives” that few CIOs have the day-to-day opportunity to immerse themselves in. Nevertheless, a fundamental understanding of how these technologies work and how they can pay off for the business is critical for CIOs who must work and communicate with their more technical staffs and managers in the development of IT architecture and weigh technology directions and investments. Topics such as bridging the IT/end business gap are also discussed at this conference.

In 2023, this conference will be held in Japan, which makes it a logistical challenge for many North American CIOs, but the conference’s rich focus on IT technology remains as an opportunity for CIOs to update and sharpen their IT technology knowledge.

Harvard Business School Financial Accounting

Corporate finance and how IT investments and payoffs play into it continue to be major areas of challenge for non-financial CIOs. An online course in finance can help strengthen knowledge in these areas and can also help to prepare CIOs who have an eye toward one day moving into the end business, a P&L responsibility, or a CEO position.

The Harvard Financial Accounting class teaches executives how to use financial statements such as balance sheets, income statements and cash flow statements to evaluate business performance and opportunities, as well as the financial health of a business.

Servicenow Risk Management e-book

Not an event, but Servicenow offers an e-book that focuses on how to develop a better risk report to the board. This eBook provides insights into the current state of enterprise risk, cybersecurity, and privacy -- all too often the province of the CIO because IT is almost always involved.

The e-book focuses on how to connect with key stakeholders and make a strong presentation on risks and risk management to the board. Just as importantly, it takes a critical look at the business, where enterprise risks are most likely to surface, and what types of questions and concerns key stakeholders are likely to have.

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About the Author(s)

Mary E. Shacklett

President of Transworld Data

Mary E. Shacklett is an internationally recognized technology commentator and President of Transworld Data, a marketing and technology services firm. Prior to founding her own company, she was Vice President of Product Research and Software Development for Summit Information Systems, a computer software company; and Vice President of Strategic Planning and Technology at FSI International, a multinational manufacturer in the semiconductor industry.

Mary has business experience in Europe, Japan, and the Pacific Rim. She has a BS degree from the University of Wisconsin and an MA from the University of Southern California, where she taught for several years. She is listed in Who's Who Worldwide and in Who's Who in the Computer Industry.

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