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
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.
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.
The author is CIO, Carzonrent