CIOs: Show your value by demonstrating these critical skills

CIOs: Show your value by demonstrating these critical skills

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CIOs understanding big data

Should CIOs be thinking like marketers? Consider what your enterprise sells. Unless you sell technology as a direct part of your business, you should always focus your mind on the marketing impact of what your technology does. In other words, you should think customer-centric. You buy into your own language as a consumer; why wouldn’t you sell in your customer’s language as a company?

This goes for internal customers as well. Whatever line of business you’re dealing with, you have to speak their language. If you’re talking to finance, you’ve got to be talking about how IT improves the fiduciary controls of the company. If you’re talking to HR, the conversation should be about you can help manage the acquisition and retention of talent. If you work for a restaurant, it’s about how you can contribute to increasing the return on each customer. It’s amazing how many people in IT still don’t get that.

Another crucial skill for CIOs is around data analytics. I say that simply because there is so much data coming from so many sources that IT has to become adept at collecting, organizing, reducing (that is, cleaning and consolidating), and redistributing that data. The only way you can do that is if you understand the sources, have a logical course of action thought through with the data, and at the other end know how you can use the most actionable, consolidated data to the benefit of the company.

This is critical because the volumes of data that a client can have today are truly astronomical. It’s great for the companies that produce data storage. But the problem with so much data is you’ve got to do something with it. The IT department needs to take a lead in that. If they don’t, they may soon have a chief digital officer in their ranks, and in my opinion, the concept of the CDO exists because the company doesn’t believe that IT is capable of dealing with its data.

Cliff has held a variety of roles with major global corporations including Barclays, M&M Mars, Diageo, Northwest Airlines and Hyatt Hotels & Resorts.

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