How To Become A Customer-Facing CIO
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User Rank: Apprentice
3/10/2014 | 5:36:11 PM
Re: What value?
Rob, I like your comment about getting out and talking to your firm's customers -- it can be the best part of the CIO's job! (
User Rank: Author
11/18/2013 | 2:32:49 PM
Re: What value?
Chris makes a good point. Credibiility is earned, not bestowed. You want the sales or marketing department to view you as a player? Then get to know those folks--have lunch with them, grab a beer with them, show them that you care about what thety do--and not just because you want to make sure they're not buying stuff under the IT radar. Show them that you know their basic challenges and want to learn even more. And as our Secret CIO, John McGreavy, has written: Ask them what a first-rate IT organization means to THEM. How do they define a strong IT organization?

But don't just meet with your internal customer-facing folks. Get out and talk with your company's customers. 
User Rank: Apprentice
11/18/2013 | 11:01:15 AM
Mixed messages
I think sometimes companies/management want it both ways. In areas such as insurance and banking, we often hear about the need to go outside of the industry & traditional functions to bring in "fresh blood" and a new perspective to the CIO role. Yet how often does the non-traditional hire thrive or succeed in the role? I know in financial services the results are mixed. I don't think this is always because the exec wasn't up to the job, but often boards/senior management say one thing that is politically correct and sounds good, but then expects something else from the CIO.
User Rank: Author
11/18/2013 | 9:44:15 AM
What value?
Mr. Smith's post raises a key question - what value does the CIO bring to a customer conversation? These are precious relationships that sales or account managers have built with their customers, and they aren't going to welcome IT leaders in just because it's good for the IT team. One approach is to start with just 1 or 2 sales leaders you have a good rapport with, and build out slowly. What else works and doesn't work to get IT leaders into customer meetings?
Alison Diana
Alison Diana,
User Rank: Moderator
11/18/2013 | 9:24:53 AM
CIOs should be proficient at marketing their departments, just as if they were representing an external IT services firm. As you write, that means knowing your own company's business needs, pain points, and opportunities, and recognizing how technology can improve or resolve those issues. It also means speaking to business leaders and employees -- because these days end-users can go out and buy their own cloud, mobile device, or app to find quick fixes (and longterm headaches). 

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