Swapping Roles

DQI Bureau
New Update

Of late, there have been discussions on the changing role of CIOs with the

next role that is of a CEO. While I personally somewhat agree with that, but

there is a lot which a CIO has to go through before he can move on to the next

level of a CEO. The current role of the CIO is becoming more strategic. Today in

most organizations, IT is embedded in the business and IT leaders are part of

core management team. Few organizations exist as exceptions where IT is treated

as a support function and CIOs are still reporting to CFOs, but gradually the

approach is changing with more and more organizations looking towards IT as a

business enabler.


The CIOs today need to be be equipped with both business and leadership

skills as well as technological ability to translate the boardroom requirements

into solutions. In an age where RoI is assuming growing importance, CIOs are now

working towards showing the business value for all the IT investments made in

the organizations. Progressive CIOs are seeking answers on how to connect with

customers and raise their satisfaction? How can process efficiencies be improved

and productivity enhanced? All these are extremely important for a business.

CIOs are also getting opportunities to prove themselves in different domains.

A growing number of CIOs are now essaying varied roles like strategist,

collaborator, and governor; in short the role of the CIO is shifting from a

technologist to business liaison.

In Store

Someone once remarked that CIO means career is over; however, I beg to

differ. Not every CIO will graduate to a CEOs role; CIOs with the right

business acumen will definitely have a fair chance to take on the new

responsibilities within the business.


A CIO who dreams of becoming CEO has a better chance than what was the case a

few years ago. Proven track record of using technology to solve business

problems will enable CIOs to become CEO. While for a CIO to become a CEO in an

IT organization is quite possible, but it will be a very difficult journey for a

CIO to become the CEO in other organizations.

Journey of Becoming a CEO

CIOs have already entered the domains like customer service, thus, increasing
the productivity and improving efficiency; All these areas are qualitative, and

most of them are non measurable.

CIOs now will have to enter in core business domains which are like customer

acquisitions, retention and receivables which are the key areas for any

business, and are quantitative and measurable. This will boost the confidence of

CIOs, and management will also respect CIOs as risk-takers, visionaries, people

with the ambition to envisage change and the determination to drive it forward.

CIO with the business brain and business experience will take this as a

challenge, and turn them into opportunities.


This will be more of a transition period for a CIO from the techie side to

business side. This will help in understanding more about numbers, where

business acumen will be very important.,

The next level will entail CIOs shouldering more responsibility of separate

business units(SBU), and delivering the topline and bottomline to prove himself

as a real business person which will help him to take the next role of a CEO.

Again the journey is not easy. The former CIO and now CEO will definitely

face new hurdles in dealing with the executive staff, customers, board members,

media, and other stakeholders; and be responsible for all deliverables apart

from giving up their first lovetechnology.

Rajesh Munjal

The author is CIO, Carzonrent