5 skills your CIO needs in 2016

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CIO Interview

What will a successful CIO be called upon to do in 2016? Based on the past year, here are a few educated guesses.


They’ll definitely have to embrace agile. Agile and more of a Lean Startup approach is something that a lot of companies, especially in retail, are struggling with. How do they organize around more agility and the processes and technologies to enable it? The rise of omnichannel and mobility means that that CIOs must commit and make this a priority in 2016 to have the right engine of growth in place to meet these challenges.

Shifting priorities

They’ll have to accommodate constantly changing priorities. At the beginning of the year IT typically does a full-on planning process, both internally and with the business. Look forward to the end of most years and you’ll probably see that more than half of the things you planned at the beginning of the year have been replaced by different projects. Part of it is innovation and part of it is responding to new opportunities and priorities that are ever-changing. Every CIO needs to accommodate this kind of change while maintaining stability in operational systems to be successful.

Smaller, faster implementations

They’ll have to get used to smaller, faster implementations. There are not nearly as many massive, ERP-type implementations coming along in most enterprises. If the average CIO looks across all their business areas, they will see many smaller projects people would like to get done. So it’s about many, many projects with a lot of iterative steps. That requires different ways of organizing and working.

New technology

They’ll have to assess whole new categories of technology. Adapting to new technology areas will be key, which means the CIO needs to lead the charge on figuring out what role wearable devices, 3D printing, or the Internet of Things might play in the business, now or 18 months from now.

Change agents

They’ll have to be change agents. The more the CIO can be a change agent, the easier it gets to actually implement the change because the organization will be aligned. Work with enterprise architecture to help define this change direction, and then communicate it as often as possible. CIOs that are holding onto a legacy past need to think differently this year. Demands are just too great to be able to continue to operate the way that it’s always been done.

Peter is a change agent driving alignment of business IT functions while evolving IT organizations from operational cost centers to a catalyst for competitive advantage.

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