What makes a CIO stand out?

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Tim Elkins IT Invades Business CIO

CIOs have a variety of reporting responsibilities ranging from other C-level executives to LOB directors. But a significant number of CIOs report directly to their CEO. Point.io, CEO, Ron Rock is the direct supervisor of his CIO and as such has his own criteria for what makes a CIO stand out. His observations are interesting and he has some great advice for incumbent CIOs who want to make the most of their work. Here's Rock's description of his experience managing CIOs.

"Over the last decade I've had the chance to work with several CIOs, year after year I see them faced with the same challenges – innovation, budget and time. When a company looks to appoint a CIO they are looking for an individual who has technological expertise and a strategic business mind. The average CIO was able to secure their position based on a long standing history of embracing innovation and cutting edge technology.

Unfortunately once in the position, I've seen CIO challenged to maintain these traits. The reason for this is simple – the CIO role is dominated by managing budgets for maintaining technology, with little left for innovation. Simultaneously, CIOs are asked to spend the majority of their time managing the organization – rather than researching and understanding the latest technological advances. In today's world of rapidly evolving technology, the lack of time to understand new tools hinders CIOs like never before. Incoming enterprise workers grew up in the age of technology, they are entering the workforce with a hunger to consume and adopt the coolest technology – and they vocalize it.

"To address these hurdles good CIOs opt to acknowledge their weaknesses and embrace their strengths. By accepting that they are not the cutting edge technologist they may once have been, CIOs can bring in subject matter experts and begin to understand the true value a technology can bring to their organization. Once this is achieved, CIOs can leverage their greatest attributes – experience and strategist execution. Rather than investing in dazzle, a CIOs' previous roles and insight into their internal needs gives them the foresight to adopt the right tools that map to their business goals. The CIO role is definitely not an easy one, but a critical one for the enterprise."

The best course of action, according to Rock is to embrace those things they can do and find ways to supplement those they are either not equipped to handle or simply don't have the time.

Scott Koegler practiced IT as a CIO for 15 years. He also has more than 20 years experience as a technology journalist covering topics ranging from software and services through business strategy.

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