As the CIO of your company, you have been given the job of leading innovation at the firm so that it can realize the importance of information technology.
However, it can be all too easy to fail at this task. I think that we all understand that innovation is an important driver of growth, and many CIOs aspire to build capabilities that can deliver sustained innovation. However they have a steep hill to climb: A quarter of CIOs who participated in a recent study say that their innovation capabilities are nonexistent. Of the CIOs who responded, only 11 percent assessed their current innovation capabilities as excellent or leading.
Why are we doing such a bad job at innovation?
As CIOs we will eventually go looking for our next CIO job.
When we do this, we need to be prepared to answer plenty of questions on various technology, business and personal topics. However, before any employment meeting ends, it’s always a good idea for you to toss a few probing questions back to the interviewer. Keep in mind that as the potential employer seeks to ensure that you’ll be able to perform professionally and productively, you’ll be risking nothing less than your reputation and future career path on commitments made during this interview.
What types of questions should we be asking during our CIO job interview?
As the person with the CIO job, it’s your responsibility to make sure that the IT department is successful. In order to do that, you need to be able to lead the department in the right direction in order to realize the importance of information technology.
What this means is that you have to plan, organize and launch new strategies and initiatives. Changes in business trends, security issues and increasing government oversight of many IT activities, combined with a seemingly never-ending series of disruptive technologies, make it essential to be thinking about tactics and goals all the time.
How should a CIO go about doing this?
As though CIOs didn’t already have enough to worry about with the importance of information technology, it now turns out that within their own company there may be a shadow IT department at work.
What has happened is that there is a growing demand for software and this has given rise to pseudo-programmers who, though not professional developers, build applications that help their business lines. These so-called “citizen developers” (cit-devs) build apps because the IT department is not willing to build the software they require when they require it. Clearly this is an issue for a CIO.
What are we supposed to do about this new army of developers who don’t work for us?
Every CIO understands that the pandemic was a major disruption to their business and the importance of information technology.
Their workplaces went from being filled with people to being deserted. Now that vaccines have become available, those workers are starting to trickle back in. However, the workplace as we used to know it may never exist again. Instead, it’s going to be transformed into a new environment. Not all of our workers are coming back and not all of the ones who are coming back will be there all the time.
How is a CIO going to secure this new hybrid work environment?
Being a CIO is an exciting job.
Starting a new CIO job can be both exciting and just a little bit daunting. When the person with the CIO job gets ready to start a new job, they need to make sure that they are going in with a clear plan. Hitting the ground running can be key to establishing themselves at a new firm and laying out a path to success so that the company can realize the importance of information technology.
What you are going to need is an 8-part plan for the first 100 days.
Right now every CIO seems to be talking about the customer experience (CX).
What CIOs have been told is that if you don’t get customer experience right, you may leave yourself vulnerable to competitors who do. However, CIOs who focus only or mostly on customers are forgetting something just as important: the employee experience (EX) . The basic formula is: You can’t have customers that are happier than your employees no matter how well you understand the importance of information technology.
Here’s how CIOs can fall short of providing employee-facing technology that helps rather than hurts productivity, morale and the bottom line.
As CIOs, some jobs are tougher than others.
One of the most demanding is when you find yourself taking on a troubled IT department. This isn’t a job for the faint of heart. Your job will be to repair damage and put things back in order so that the company can realize the importance of information technology. This will require a great deal of time and effort on your part. The good news is that if you succeed, you’ll be lauded as a hero.
The bad news is that if you fail, your washout could haunt your CIO career for years to come.
Guess what? A brand new technology is on the horizon and as the company’s CIO, you are going to be the person who is going to have to implement it.
This new technology is called robotic process automation (RPA) and it allows average business users to configure software “robots” to automate what are called “swivel chair” repetitive tasks and maximize the importance of information technology. A company’s motivation for launching an RPA campaign is to put themselves on a much faster automation track while reaping the benefits of increased productivity and lower operational costs.
What do CIOs need to know in order to introduce this new technology into their company?
Modern CIOs need to understand that Business Intelligence (BI) leverages software and services to transform data into actionable insights that inform an company’s strategic and tactical business decisions. These BI tools access and analyze data sets and present analytical findings in reports, summaries, dashboards, graphs, charts and maps designed to provide users with detailed intelligence about the state of the business.
In IT the term business intelligence often also refers to a range of tools that provide quick, easy-to-digest access to insights about an organization’s current state, based on available data.
The challenge that CIOs are facing is how best to make use of these new tools?
As more and more CIOs move their company’s IT infrastructure into the cloud, the importance of the cloud is becoming more and more important.
I’d like to be able to tell you that all of that work that you put into selecting the right cloud provider for your company is a “one and done” type of activity. However, that’s not the case. For a variety of reasons, you may decide later on down the road that you want to switch cloud providers.
When this happens, the person with the CIO job needs to make sure that they have the flexibility to do this when the time comes, without significant negative impact to the company.
Just think of all of the things that the person with the CIO job has to stay on top of: the explosive growth of cloud computing, the continued rise in business-managed IT spend, and incredible leaps in data analytics and automation.
In this environment, a new generation of CIOs are leading the way by rewriting the culture of IT to better embrace the importance of information technology. They are replacing structure with fluidity, and control is being swapped for influence as business leaders and CIOs are finding new ways to collaborate and deliver business value. All faster, safer, and more cost-effectively than ever before.
What areas do CIOs need to focus on in order to make all of this change happen?
As CIOs are busy creating projects to move more and more of their IT infrastructure into the cloud, they are always looking to other firms in order to get direction on what the best way to go about doing this is.
We all know that Amazon offers one of the most popular cloud products and so it can be very easy to assume that it has always been easy going for their move into the cloud. It turns out that this is not the case, Amazon had their own issues as they moved into the cloud.
CIOs need to pay close attention to the challenges that Amazon had to deal with and how they went about solving these challenges.
CIOs who think that BYOD (bring-your-own-device) is a fad that is starting to fade away are wrong.
CIOs who think they can abandon the practice of creating BYOD polices risk upsetting an important and growing constituency of their workforce: millennials, who are also known as GenY.
Attracting this type of worker has become a part of the importance of information technology.
As the people with the CIO job, we are all aware that security is a big deal at our companies.
However, just exactly how to secure the company is an issue that a lot of us are not 100% sure how to go about doing. Over at the Norway-based aluminum company, Norsk Hydro, they were recently the target of a ransomware attack and so they are highly aware of the dangers that they are facing.
This awareness has caused them to start to take some actions that we could all learn a thing or two from…
You would think that being a CIO at a rental car company would be a pretty straight forward job.
I mean, if you understand the importance of information technology and can keep track of the employees and the cars then you are pretty much on top of your job. However, the way that we use cars is getting ready to undergo some significant changes with the arrival of Uber and ride sharing services.
How is the CIO of Enterprise Holdings going to help the company to evolve to meet a changing world?
As your company’s CIO it is your responsibility to understand the importance of information technology and to use it to secure the company’s assets.
What this means on a daily basis is that you are probably installing firewalls and creating white lists for who can access what applications and servers. However, as life become more and more complicated, you may also be dealing with the arrival of image-recognition filters for everything from screening online content and people arriving at your company’s buildings.
It turns out that these new AI driven systems can be fooled…
As the person with the CIO job, you realize just how important mobile phones are to your company.
These devices have become the way that everyone stays in touch and the way that we are able to find each other no matter what time of day or night it is. However, just as mobile phones have become a more and more important part of our lives just like the importance of information technology, at the same time the bad people out there have discovered that our mobile phones can hold the key to breaking into people’s lives and into your business.
What should you be doing as CIO to keep your people and your company secure?
The CIO job is the one that everyone in the IT department eventually wants to get.
It can be a real challenge to line up an interview for this position and even more of a challenge to get selected for it.
What everyone wants to know is what they need to be doing in order to someday make this happen for them so that they can share the importance of information technology with the rest of the company?
As a CIO, do you feel like you are always “on”?
When you were in the office, there were always meetings, phone calls, and people wanting to drop by your office to talk with you because of the importance of information technology. In our new age where everyone is working from home, it seems like things have only become busier and busier. The start of the day is defined by the first time that someone can get in touch with you and it doesn’t end until you finally walk away from your desk.
More and more CIOs are starting to understand that what they need to do is to find ways to unplug themselves in order to be able to do their job better.
When you are the CIO, you deal with things like servers, networks, firewalls and the like.
You are not generally called on to deal with other business related issues such as insurance. However, with the rash of ransomware attacks and denial-of-service attacks that have been happening, CIOs are now being asked to help out when the company goes shopping for cyber insurance. The problem is that cyber insurance is new and it raises more questions than it answers.
CIOs need to study this new area if they want to be able to guide their company correctly.
As the person with the CIO job, it is your responsibility to make sure that the company is staffed with the IT experts that will be able to understand the importance of information technology and guide the company into the future.
In the past this has been fairly easy to do, you just went out and hired Java developers, Cisco network engineers, and a few people who knew SAP and VMWare. Job done. However, things are starting to change. The IT workers that you are going to want to be hiring in the future are going to be different. They will have a set of skills that today’s IT workers don’t have.
Are you ready to go looking for IT workers with hybrid skills?
Every CIO starts out a year with a clear set of goal: things that we want to get done because of the importance of information technology.
However, and this year has been no exception, things have a habit of changing on us. When these changes happen, CIOs are faced with two choices: make no changes and hope for the best or adjust their plans to match the new set of realities that they find themselves dealing with.
With all of the changes that CIOs have experienced this year, they had no choice but to create a new set of priorities in order to make it through the year.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a long, hard, path for everyone.
Only now is a light starting to appear at the end of the long dark tunnel that we have all been in. Vaccines are racing through the testing phases and once they become available everyone is going to want to get one.
What this means for healthcare CIOs is that they need to start planning now for how they are going to keep their vaccines secure so that they can be distributed to the people who need them the most at the right times.
Securing the company’s data is one of the primary jobs of the CIO. As the importance of information technology grows and more and more of our data moves into the cloud, keeping that data out of the hands of hackers is becoming a bigger and bigger issue.
As CIOs go looking for solutions to this problem, what they are discovering is that perhaps the perfect solution already exists. Like maybe it was created back in the 1950s.
Yes, I’m talking about storing your precious data on magnetic tape once again.
Guess what: CIOs are humans also.
Just like everyone else we have grown tired of living in a world that is trying to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. We miss the way that the world used to be: the routines, the people, the interactions, the dealing the importance of information technology. It’s entirely possible that as the months have dragged on you have become worn down. The good news is that you are not alone – everyone else is feeling the same way.
What we all need are ways to get our second wind. How can we get the energy that we’re going to need in order to get through this thing?
Guess what: CIOs are humans also.
Just like everyone else we have grown tired of living in a world that is trying to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. We miss the way that the world used to be: the routines, the people, the interactions, the dealing the importance of information technology. It’s entirely possible that as the months have dragged on you have become worn down. The good news is that you are not alone – everyone else is feeling the same way. What we all need are ways to get our second wind.
How can we get the energy that we’re going to need in order to get through this thing?
As the person with the CIO job, you understand that having a diverse workforce is key to having an IT department that can solve today’s complex problems.
Diversity is something that we’ve always worked at and in the past few years it has only increased in importance. The importance of information technology requires that we have a diverse workforce. However, with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic and the upheaval that has swept through every company,
CIOs have a new problem that they have to deal with: they are losing their female employees.
Let’s face it, the robots are taking over.
All people with the CIO job are aware of the advances that have been made in robotic technology over the past few years. It goes almost without saying that CIOs have spent the past few years looking at how their company does things with an eye to finding places where robots, who represent the importance of information technology, could be used to do things quicker, more accurately, and at a lower cost. Given that we’ve already made this investment, you wouldn’t think that there would be a situation where a CIO would take a step back and decide to not deploy robots, do you?
Well guess what, it’s happening.
Hey look – a customer is showing up at your company’s online web site.
They took a look at the company’s catalog. Now they are placing an order. Are they a real customer? Are they a bot? Will they ever actually pay you?
As the person with the CIO job it is your responsibility to evaluate your online customers. In order to make this happen, you are going to have to come up with a new type of metric that will allow you to determine if your customer can be trusted.
I am willing to bet that when you go to the grocery store, the store is filled with food products.
In fact, I’m also willing to bet that pretty much any day of the week or any time of the day that you go to the grocery store its filled head-to-toe with the food products that you want to buy. Most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about just exactly how all of this happens day in and day out. However, the CIOs at the grocery chains spend most of their day worrying about just exactly how each one of those food products will make it into the store and onto the shelves.
The good news for them is that technology is starting to be created that will help them to do things like this even better.
The person with the CIO job has a problem on their hands.
The world has changed and a new breed of technology has rolled into the IT department: artificial intelligence (AI). The entire company is getting excited about the importance of information technology and the possibilities that AI can bring to the company: processing of large volumes of data, accurate forecasts, and improved automation. However, the person in the CIO position knows that they actually have a bit of a problem on their hands: AI systems are only as good as the data that you feed to them.
It turns out that most of us have a lot of “dirty data”.
So what is the most important asset in the IT department?
If you are like most CIOs, you’re instinctive answer to that question is “our people”. That’s a good answer; however, if we were to take a look at how the IT department goes about hiring people, I think that we’d discover a different story. Does your IT department spend its time going after candidates with low motivation and skip over other highly motivated candidates?
If you want to find the best talent to fill your IT jobs, then things are going to have to change.
There is no way that any of us could have seen the Covid-19 pandemic coming our way.
This is something that none of us have ever experienced before and in fact the people who taught us how to do our job had never had to deal with anything like this either. Yes, there are things that we could have done that would have allowed us to be better prepared, but there was nothing that we could have done to be completely prepared.
This is exactly how one CIO now feels…
When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, all of sudden everyone who had been coming into the office started to stay at home.
That left a lot of workspace wide open. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity got the people in the CIO position thinking. How could the workplace be made better for everyone in the IT department so that they could share the importance of information technology? In the past few years a lot of organizations have adopted the “open office” organizational approach.
However, is there a better way to set things up?
CIOs who work in the oil industry are used to seeing ups and downs sweep through their IT departments.
However, nothing could have prepared them for the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic. This virus caused everything to shut down and send all of their workers home.
Now, after cutting thousands of jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, oil industry CIOs are accelerating their embrace of remote drilling and fracking, changes that will reshape its workforce permanently.
As a CIO, communication is a key part of your job as you try to share the importance of information technology.
You really need people to pay attention to what you are telling them to do. However, in this day and age it all too often seems as though the people that you are talking to are not hearing you. Studies that have been done have revealed that the people that we are talking to are tuning out our conversations about 30% of the time.
How can the person with the CIO job get people to listen to them?
Just by being the person with the CIO job you change things.
Your department looks up to you for guidance in how they are supposed to behave. What a lot of people in the CIO position don’t realize is that within the IT department, all the way down the line of command, people are watching you. If you behave well, then they will behave well. If you behave poorly, then they’ll see it as a green light and they will behave poorly.
This can all have some very serious consequences.
I’m pretty sure that I don’t have to tell CIOs that they have a real problem on their hands.
Due to the way that demographics work, there are a lot of skilled IT workers who are just about ready to become eligible to retire. When this happens, all of sudden a great deal of the knowledge that allows the IT department to run smoothly is going to walk out the door. When that happens, the CIO has to have a plan to keep the lights on and the databases up.
What will you do?
So just exactly what does it take to be a successful CIO?
I think that we can all agree that one of the key traits that the person in the CIO position needs to have is the self-confidence to deal with issues related to the importance of information technology. If we don’t believe in ourselves, then who will? Self-confidence is how we make decisive decisions and support and challenge the members of our team. However, if we have too much self-confidence, then it can turn into overconfidence. When we are overconfident then the person with the CIO job can become arrogant and alienate the members of our team. How can we tell if we have too much of a good thing?
Simple – by answering some important questions.
So if you look back on the day that you become a CIO, you need to remember that nobody ever told you that this was going to be an easy job dealing with the importance of information technology.
One of the reasons that being the person in the CIO position is such a tough job is because of all of the important decisions that you are expected to make. The impact of your decisions will affect the lives of everyone who works in your department and may impact the company for years to come. There is a lot riding on what you decide to do. Feeling any pressure yet?
What are the biggest decisions that CIOs are expected to make and what are the best way to make these decisions?
The person with the CIO job has another question about the importance of information technology that they are going to have to find the answer to. This time around the question is just exactly how we can go about securing all of the so-called “smart” devices that are going to be constantly connecting to the internet and sharing data.
As the internet of things starts to take off, the security questions need to be answered right now.
Let’s face it, if you were the person running your company you would have a lot of big issues that you needed to deal with in addition to worrying about the importance of information technology.
One of these issues would be the simple fact that your health-care costs for employees are ballooning. Since we now live in the 21st Century, you’d probably look for a high-tech way to get your hands around this problem. You could give your employees activity trackers and introduce high-tech wellness programs that keep track of employee’s exercise, sleep, and nutrition.
However, by doing this you are going to create a bunch of privacy issues that the CIO is going to have to find a way to deal with.
Wow – that cloud thing is a powerful tool for the person with the CIO job to use.
Think about it, we have access to almost unlimited storage and the ability to spin up new servers anytime that we run into the need. Life sure has gotten better than it used to be. However, it turns out that moving to the cloud comes with its own special set of downsides.
What can happen is that after we’ve moved our corporate data to the cloud, we may have ended up leaving it exposed for the world to see.
That pesky e-commerce thing has changed everything for businesses everywhere.
What this means for the person with the CIO job is that they need to help the company find ways to use the importance of information technology to do things quicker and better. One way that the person with the CIO job is trying to help out is by taking the robots that have become an indispensable part of almost every warehouse and move them into retail settings.
Will robots be the way that CIOs make retail better?
Just exactly how important is a CIO?
A startup health care company tried to accomplish the creation of a new way for patients to purchase prescriptions online; however, they quickly ran into problems and failed. This time around they understand that things have to be different.
This time around they’re hiring a CIO to help them do it correctly.
CIOs who are excited about their jobs and who are ambitious often like to act like they know everything.
This kind of behavior becomes very visible to everyone that they work with. As they move on in their career, these CIOs often start to realize that, despite the importance of information technology, just how little they actually did know. Acting this way can be a severe career limiter for CIOs.
What we need to do is to understand what it looks like when we are acting like a know-it-all and what we can do to stop this kind of behavior.
One does not often think about farming and CIOs in the same thought.
However, it turns out that the way that food is being grown and harvested is in the process of undergoing a radical transformation. Technology is being applied to the fields where our food is grown and how best to apply that technology is something that CIOs are being asked to determine.
What this means for the average CIO is that they’ve got some learning to do about how food gets from the field to our tables.
So it turns out that restaurants have CIOs also.
These CIOs are tasked with the challenge of understanding the importance of information technology and finding ways to use IT resources to make the restaurants that they work for even better than they already are.
In order to make this happen, restaurants are going to have to collect a great deal of data about their customers and then use big data techniques to turn that data into knowledge that the restaurant can take action on.
CIOs who work for grocery store chains are undergoing some significant changes in their lives.
It used to be that being a CIO who worked in the grocery business allowed you to focus on such issues as the delivery of items to stores, current inventory levels, and the tracking of food shipments when a contamination was detected. However, that has all been changed. Every year in the U.S. consumers spend over US$800B on grocery store food. More and more of that spending is starting to go online.
Grocery store CIOs need to understand the importance of information technology and adapt to this change or risk being left behind.
As the person with the CIO job, it is your responsibility to provide your company with guidance on how they can be successful.
In order to be able to provide good advice, what we need to do is to take a look at other companies that have learned to use IT in order to be successful and take lessons from them. Good examples of such companies who realized the importance of information technology include Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook.
If we take a look at how they have become so successful we’ll quickly start to realize something: they invest in their own technology.
Think about the car that you are currently driving.
What components go into it? If you guessed metal, glass, and plastic then you would be correct – but you would have missed one key ingredient. Software. More and more the cars that we drive are being controlled and run by software. The problem is that the traditional car makers are good at bending metal, but not so good at creating software.
Can their CIOs change things so that they’ll be able to create the cars of the future?
As the person with the CIO job at your company, you are constantly under pressure to understand the importance of information technology and to find ways to allow the company to do more things quicker.
You’ve probably already done the simple things such as deploying a group chat application, installing an ERP suite, and, of course, putting in countless firewalls to keep the whole operation safe. However, now the people running the company are going to be asking you to do more. They want you to find ways to automate the back office tasks that are being done that don’t bring a lot of value to the company.
Looks like you are going to have to learn about RPA.
So let’s make sure that we all understand what we are talking about when we bring up pay transparency.
Right off the bat, pay transparency sounds like a really good idea. In a company that has pay transparency, every employee knows what every other employee is making. There can be a lot of benefits to doing this: it can motivate employees, it can close gender gaps, and it can attract new talent that will understand the importance of information technology by showing people how achievement at the company is rewarded.
However, the person with the CIO job needs to understand that there is also a darker underside to pay transparency…
The person with the CIO job realizes that their company has a significant problem when it comes to hiring people.
They can’t always trust that the resume that the person has given them is truthful. The traditional way of trying to make sure that the company is getting the straight story is to run a background check on each candidate. However, this can be an expensive and time consuming task.
The arrival of a new type of technology, the blockchain, holds out the promise of being able to provide a company with the assurance that they are looking for.
If you are like most CIOs, you always have too much to do and not enough time in which to get it all done.
Most of us deal with this challenge by creating lists of the things that we need to get accomplished so that we don’t forget anything. Creating a list and then marking things off as we complete them is what most productivity solutions are based on. The problem is that our to-do lists just seem to keep on growing and there are things on that list that we know that we’ll never have a chance to get to do.
People with the CIO job need a better way to get things done.
I’m pretty sure that just about every CIO has heard about artificial intelligence (AI) by now.
This technology is starting to revolutionize a lot of the ways that we live our lives. AI is showing up in our cell phones and helps us to remember to do things, shows us places that we’d probably like to go based on places that we’ve been in the past, and can even recommend people that we might like to be friends with. At the same time AI is working its way into our homes via devices such as Amazon’s Echo products.
What the person with the CIO job needs to realize is that their company needs to be involved with AI right now or else they stand the very real chance that their competition is going to end up passing them by.
So just exactly what is this “friendship” thing?
For that matter how important is it? For most CIOs, friendship is very important. We’d all like to have as many friends as we possibly can. However, in this day and age we often indicate our friendship with someone by “friending” them in online social media sites.
As both you and I know, friendships can change over time and so that brings up the big question: should we friend people at work if we may just end up un-friending them online later on?
CIOs have known for a long time that their firms are under assault from outside forces.
Your company has developed a vast warehouse of valuable information that outsiders would love to be able to get their hands on. As the company’s CIO it is your job to prevent this from happening.
However, in order to perform this task successfully you are going to have to make sure that you are aware both of the threats that you are facing as well as the ways that you can defend yourself.
As your company’s CIO you have a responsibility to make sure that the IT department is staffed with the skilled workers that it will need in order to remain both competitive and secure.
Among other things, this means that because of the importance of information technology you are going to have to hire the cybersecurity experts that you’ll need in order to keep the bad guys out. However, this is where CIOs are starting to run into problems. It turns out that there simply are not enough cybersecurity experts out there. This is creating real problems for CIOs.
What should we do about this?
When your IT department creates a new website for users to access, how do they go about securing it?
If you are like most IT departments, you require users to make use of a unique username and a password. That password may be a bit complex: it has to be so long, must contain upper and lower characters, has to have a special character in it, etc. However, we keep reading about hackers who are able to guess people’s passwords and gain access to sites.
What should a CIO do to stop this?
So let’s pretend for a moment that you’ve switched sides.
You are now a hacker that is trying to break into your company’s network because you understand the importance of information technology, want to get money from your company, or do something else that you really should not be doing. How are you going to go about making this happen? In the old days, you’d create a malicious piece of software and then try to smuggle it into the company so that it could do your dirty work for you. However, hackers have since moved on. These days they use a more sophisticated attack: social engineering.
As the CIO are you going to be ready to defend against this?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a powerful new technology that the person with the CIO job is going to have to learn how to harness because of the importance of information technology.
We need to realize that the impact of introducing AI powered applications into our business will not just impact the IT department, but rather will impact the entire company.
What this is going to mean is that the person in the CIO position is going to have to prepare the rest of the company for the changes that will be coming their way.
So the people with the CIO job who work for the big cruise lines have a bit of a problem on their hands.
It turns out that when people are planning on traveling, they generally don’t plan on taking a cruise. Right now less than 4% of Americans take a cruise each year. Worldwide the global cruise industry accounts for just 2% of the world’s hotel rooms.
This sure looks like the kind of problem that technology can fix…
As is the case with all CIO’s, you’d like to be the best boss that you can possibly be.
There are a lot of characteristics of good bosses: they treat their employees with respect, they give good directions, and they praise people when they accomplish something significant. However, even if you are able to do some or all of these things and support the importance of information technology, is it possible that you are still a bad boss? One characteristic of a bad boss would be one that wastes other peoples time.
Could you be doing this and not even be aware of it?
If you are the person with the CIO job, the rest of the company is looking at you for help in making your company more competitive.
What this means is that the company needs to always be improving how they do things – they need to become quicker, better, and faster. This all sounds great and we know that if we use the power of information technology we can certainly make some of this happen. However, what the person in the CIO position needs to find out is how all of that data that they are collecting can be used to help the company teach itself how to become better. It turns that this can be done.
The secret lies in models.
Just a few years ago, the weight loss company Nutrisystem was in a bad place.
A combination of events had resulted in a decrease in sales. The global recession along with more competition in the weight loss market had resulted in sales and profits declining for several years. Clearly something had to be done.
The company’s CIO, along with their CEO Dawn Zier, decided that everyone in the company had to have a new mindset if the company was going to be saved.
Most CIOs feel comfortable when they are dealing with the things that they know the best which show off the importance of information technology: servers, networks, software, firewalls, etc.
However, in order to be a successful CIO we also have to be good at dealing with something else: people. In order to successfully manage the people who work in the IT department we first need to make sure that we understand how they think. If we can master this, then we’ll have smoother communication and stronger understanding of what motivates them.
All of this will be good for our IT department.
I’m hoping that we can all agree that the nature of our IT department’s workforce has been changing over the past few years.
It sure seems like as the importance of information technology grows, the department keeps getting younger and younger and younger. What has been happening is that we have been employing more and more members of the so-called millennial generation. These employees who were born between 1982 and 2000 now hold the success of your IT department in their hands.
Do you know how to manage them?
As the person with the CIO job, you have a lot on your plate.
You need to make sure that the company’s networks are kept secure and you need to make the right decisions about new technology that the company is considering because of the importance of information technology. However, you also have to remember that you are a manager and that the IT department is your responsibility.
You need to make sure that your department is running as smoothly as possible. What this means for you is that you need to be aware of the effect of rudeness.
One of the most important jobs that the person with the CIO job is asked to do is to secure the company’s networks because of the importance of information technology.
The good news is that the tools that are available to do this are always getting better and better. The bad news is that the weakest link in the security chain, your employees, seems to be becoming weaker and weaker. Too many CIOs are making it easy for the bad guys to get in to their network.
What can a CIO do to create a cybersafe company?
Let’s face it, one of the most important jobs that a CIO does is to negotiate deals.
No matter if we are dealing with outside vendors or internal departments, it sure seems as though because of the importance of information technology a great deal of our time is taken up with trying to get the best deal for our IT department. This is a skill that most of us have learned along the way.
That’s why it may come as a bit of a surprise to learn that if we do too much negotiating, it can backfire on us.
When the bad guys go after a bank, because of the importance of information technology it is the responsibility of the Bank’s CIO to keep the bank’s networks and electronic assets safe.
However, this is not something that they can do by themselves. Banks need to know what is happening at other banks so that they can learn from them and better prepare to defend themselves.
In order to accomplish this, bank CIOs need to share data with other banks and this starts to raise some interesting privacy concerns.
Let’s agree on one thing: the people who work at your firm are smart people. Right?
There’s no way that they would fall for one of those phishing attacks that we read about in the paper all the time. Or is there? As the person with the CIO job, one of your biggest issues is that the bad guys who are attacking your corporate network are getting more sophisticated, more prevalent, and more dangerous every day because they understand the importance of information technology. These bad guys come in all sorts of different forms. Organized criminals attempt to steal your financial records, terrorists try to encrypt your systems as a part of a ransomware attack, and even whole countries are trying to gain access to your systems so that they can lay there dormant until it suits them.
What’s a CIO to do?
Let’s face it: it is becoming harder and harder to keep the company’s IT assets and its network safe from people who want to do you harm.
The threats are relentless and they just keep getting stronger and coming at us from all directions. Additionally, what could happen if the bad guys do get in can now be disastrous because of the importance of information technology when you consider how much customer data can be lost, how many corporate secrets can be lost, and then the threat of lawsuits because of the breech.
As CIOs we probably should not be sleeping very well at night and here are the reasons why.
When a member of your department does a good job, all of a sudden you find yourself in a difficult position.
You’d like to show this individual that they did a good job and that you appreciate it. However, the big question is often how best to go about doing this. There are a number of different things that you can do: you can hand out awards, give them an office that has a coveted window, or increase their scope of responsibility.
However, what a lot of CIOs don’t realize is that by doing these things, they are actually causing a great deal of damage.
As is the case with all managers, there are probably some manager skills that you do very well and other things that you’d like to learn how to do better.
The big question that we always face is how can we get the manager training to become better at the things that we don’t currently do well? It turns out that the answer is that we need to learn from those around us who do these types of things well. How can we do that?
Guess what – it may be as easy as moving your desk so that you sit close to them.
The reason that an IT department exists within a company is to provide the company with a way to use the importance of information technology to provide the company with a competitive advantage.
The IT department provides the company with the ability to process all of the data that is collected while at the same time providing the company’s customers with a seamless experience. In today’s modern times, IT departments are using artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cloud computing to accomplish all of this. However, companies are struggling to adapt to these new ways of doing business.
Just exactly how does one go about transforming an IT architecture?
If you are a woman, becoming CIO can be a significant challenge.
However, once you are able to achieve this goal, that is when the real work starts. As CIO, you need to take the time to network in order to both maintain your position and be effective. However, networking is much harder for women to do than men. There are very few women who achieve positions of power in companies that it can be difficult for women to find people who will sponsor them in order to make introductions and referrals.
Because of all of this it can be easy for women CIOs to start to believe that there is something wrong with the process of networking.
Let’s face it: our companies are not in business just to keep the IT department up and running.
Rather, it’s really the other way around. The IT department exists to help the company stay up and be successful using the importance of information technology. Of course we keep the company’s critical applications up and running and we spend our time crunching all of the data that has been collected, but what else should we be doing? The answer is actually fairly simple: help the company to get more customers.
One way that we can go about doing this is by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI).
As CIOs, because of the importance of information technology we spend our days surrounded by servers and making decisions about things like firewalls and moving into the cloud.
Is workplace diversity something that we really need to trouble ourselves about? It turns out that creating a diverse workforce can be a critical part of any IT department’s success and so, yes, this is something that a CIO needs to spend time on. The trick is to make your workplace diverse and then keep it that way.
This is not an easy thing to accomplish.
The role of the CIO in the company has been an ever evolving position.
The people with the CIO job first started out as simply being caretakers for the IT equipment that the company had purchased because of the importance of information technology. This role evolved into more of a strategic partner role for the person in the CIO position who was called on to help the company do a better job of being competitive. Going forward, CIO are now positioned to take a leadership role when it comes to solving some of the biggest challenges that their companies are now facing.
Will you be ready to do this?
Once upon a time the CIO job had very little to do with the company that you worked for.
Instead of having to worry about what the company was up to, you could spend your time focused on building data centers, selecting servers, and installing more storage. What it was being used for really did not matter all that much. However, now the person in the CIO position has a seat at the company’s planning table and what the business does is almost as important as how it goes about doing this.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the business of searching for oil…
I think that we can all agree that one of the most important parts of the CIO job is the ability to take in and process a large amount of information in order to understand the importance of information technology.
It is our responsibility to determine what is important and what we can ignore. However, it turns out that the person in the CIO position also has to have the ability to detect B.S. when it shows up. In our digital age false information in the form of nonsense, rubbish, and fake news can show up at any time, we’ve got to be able to detect it.
How good are you at doing this?
One of the most challenging jobs that the person in the CIO position has to deal with is trying to recruit the best workers.
In addition to the importance of information technology, there are a number of different things that can cause a young person just out of college to decide to either join your IT department or not, but one of the most obvious is what they think of your work environment. In the past, CIOs have added a number of “cool” things to the office such as pool tables or even craft beer dispensers.
However, now the challenge for the person with the CIO job is to find a way to make sure that the outside world knows how cool their office is.
Based on what we’ve all be reading in the newspaper and seeing online, I think that it’s pretty clear that anyone who is aware of the importance of information technology knows that Cybersecurity is a big priority for the person with the CIO job.
The number of hacks of companies has been on the rise as has been their scale. The possibility of your company being disrupted by an electronic theft is starting to seem more and more likely. Unfortunately for all of us, the line between state sponsored attacker and independent operator is also starting to become blurred.
Clearly this is something that CIO’s need to deal with, but how?
I would like to be more successful. Would you?
I think that there are several points during the year that we all have the realization that we’d like to be able to accomplish more based on the importance of information technology than we are currently able to do. When one of these times swings around, we make a promise to ourselves to get more done, become more creative, etc.
However, it turns out that we’re overlooking one very important factor: just exactly how much the time of day matters to our performance.
Hopefully we’d all like to become better CIOs.
This is a great goal, the challenge that most of us are facing is that it just is not clear exactly what we need to do in order to make this happen. The good news is that researchers have been talking to the people that work for us and what they have found out is that we are pretty good at sharing information, but we're lousy listeners. You can’t be a good CIO if you are a poor listener. It turns out that doing a good job of listening to the people who work for us is seen as being a complement to them. When we listen to them we’re telling them that we care about them.
So now the big question is how can the person with the CIO position become a better listener?
Ah, email. What a powerful tool. What an utter nightmare!
The person who has the CIO job probably uses email so often that they no longer really spend that much time thinking about it. However, that may be a mistake. What we forget is that email is a tool and if we can learn how best to use it, then we can become more effective. The good news is that email is something that the researchers have been spending a lot of time taking a look at. Their goal has been to find out how we can become smarter about how we use email at work in order to boost the importance of information technology.
Let’s take a look at what their research has uncovered.
Having the CIO job is tough. Because of the importance of information technology, the company expects you to be able to accomplish a great deal.
The world in which you work, IT, is constantly changing and it can be quite difficult to keep up with everything that is going on. This is why you need to have the best team of people working in your IT department. Finding those people, getting them to agree to join your IT department, and then convincing them to stay is a full time job on top of everything else that you are expected to do.
Recent studies have shown that if you want your staff to stay, it have more to do with the managers that you have working for you than anything else.
Let’s face it, as CIOs we’d all like to be liked. We enjoy the parts of our job that are fun and which have to do with the importance of information technology.
It makes us happy when another large IT project is successfully rolled out. However, life is life and part of our job is that when there is bad news to be delivered, we’re the ones who have the job to share the news with the people who work for us. Nothing that I can tell you will ever make this an easy thing to do.
However, it turns out that there are ways that you can deliver information like this in ways that turn out to be less stressful for you and, perhaps, just a little bit more comforting for the people that you have to deliver it to.
The world in which we live is currently changing.
Over the past few years, as the importance of information technology has grown, the internet has become a bigger and more important part of both our personal and professional lives. Every IT department makes extensive use of the internet these days to run apps, handle storage, and communicate. The revolution that is currently going on is occurring because more and more devices are being connected to the internet for the first time.
What will the impact of this be for CIOs?
If a the person with the CIO job could have a super power, what would be the best one to have? The ability to fly and avoid all of those lines at the airport? The ability to see through walls and find the people that you are looking to talk with? These would all be great to have, but perhaps there is another super power that would top them all. How about the ability to see into the future.
The ability to see what is coming next in the crazy mixed up world of technology? This truly would be a great power to have.
None of us have this power, but if we take the time to talk to really smart people then sometimes we might just a peek at what is coming our way.
As CIOs we are faced with a complete set of problems that we need to solve.
These can be small, simple problems that we can solve just by thinking about them for a moment and then telling someone what to do in order to solve them or they can be the really big problems that we have no clue how to go about solving. It’s these big problems that can cause a CIO real headaches.
It turns out that that in order to solve the really big problems, CIOs need to use a different way of thinking about problem solving in order to come up with solutions that will really work for them.
All CIOs have heard about big data by now: the Tsunami of data that is washing over every company and the struggle that they have to collect it, store it, and then process it in order to create actionable information.
As a CIO, when we think about big data we are faced with a number of questions having to do with the importance of information technology that we have not had to deal with in the past. Is this going to require a new architecture? Will new platforms be required?
These are all questions that we are going to have to be able to answer, but first we need to make sure that we understand the questions.
As CIOs, every day is busy. We’ve got a lot of different things going on that have to do with the importance of information technology and it can be very challenging to try to get everything done.
That’s why when it comes to hackers, we are aware of the problem but we may not be currently doing anything about it. The thinking goes that if we run into a problem with hackers, we’ll then free up some time and take care of things then. Perhaps this is not the best overall plan. For you see, the hackers are out there and they may have already found a way into your firm. The time to deal with them is now.
Are you ready?
As the person with the CIO job, it’s your responsibility to make sure that the company’s IT department understand the importance of information technology and is able to meet the needs of the rest of the company.
There are actually several different ways to go about doing this. You can be the “slow and steady” IT department that rolls out new products and services after everyone else in your market has already deployed them or you can be the “first in” who rolls out new services before anyone has ever heard of them.
Wouldn’t it be better if your IT department was more like Apple and just got it right each and every time?
Can you remember the day when if you wanted to talk with your boss you would go walking down the hall to his or her office? You’d knock on the door, get called in, enter and perhaps shut the door behind you. Well guess what – those days are just about over.
Welcome to the new workplace reality: the open office. CIOs are being asked to make decisions about what office layout is going to be the best for their IT department and right now the open office is one of the leading candidates.
Being the person with the CIO job is hard work. You try and you try and you try to do a good job but it always seems like you are somehow falling further and further behind. There is so much work to do in regards to the importance of information technology that you only dream of being able to do all of the things that you should be doing in order to make your IT department as good as it could be.
In cases like this, it might be helpful to take a look around in the world of high-tech and see if there is anyone who is getting all of this stuff correct. Does anyone know how to run things correctly?
It turns out that the answer is yes – Adobe.
As the person with the CIO job, one of your main tasks is to assign work to the various people who work for you. As the number of people grows and the amount of work that has to be done seems to get even larger, this task that once upon a time appeared to be simple, can quickly get out of hand.
Over at those fancy new startup companies that like to refer to themselves as being part of the “gig economy”, they believe in the importance of information technology and have started to use both apps and algorithms to assign tasks to the self employed workers that they use.
Is this something that you should be doing?
CIOs at banks have a great deal to worry about. Simply because their companies have so much valuable data and money, the bad guys are always trying to break in and steal things.
As though this wasn’t bad enough, every bank is connected to every other bank. What this means is that if something bad happened to a connected bank, then your bank could also suffer.
In order to prevent doomsday scenarios like this from happening, the people in the bank CIO position have come up with a plan.
So CIO, are you a good manager? I suspect that most of us think that we are. However, over at the Gallop company they have just completed a survey of managers. What they discovered is that only one in 10 people actually possesses the talent to manage others. Ouch!
This magical 10 percent who have what it takes to be a good manager frequently realize 48 percent greater profitability, 22 percent greater productivity, 17 percent greater employee engagement, 5 percent greater customer engagement, and 19 percent less turnover according to Gallup.
Are you one of the 10%? Do you have the 5 talents that every person with the CIO job needs?
Let’s face it, when it comes to money, people can quickly become very greedy. When you take a look at institutions like the American stock market, the potential for people to do a large number of things that they really should not do becomes very large.
In order to keep things under control and make sure that everyone behaves themselves, the government created the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This organization has the responsibility to watch over all stock and option trading and make sure that nobody is doing anything that they should not be doing.
This all sounds like a good idea, but what should the SEC’s CIO do when they are the ones who get hacked?
One of the most important jobs that the person with the CIO job has is to keep the company’s networks and data secure. This means that they are responsible for implementing systems and procedures that will keep the bad guys out.
We purchase and implement products that require our users to correctly identify themselves before they are permitted to access important company resources. So far these systems seem to be working fairly well – the bad guys have not been able to guess how to defeat our security measures.
However, with the arrival of quantum computing this may all change. What do CIOs need to do in order to get ready?
Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for a while, you may not be aware of this thing that is being called the “internet of things” (IOT). What people are talking about when they talk about IOT is the growing number of devices that can be connected directly to the Internet.
In a typical work environment this can include everything from copy machines, fax machines, coffee machines, and even video cameras.
There are a lot of benefits that come from this connectivity; however, at the same time the person in the CIO position need to become very aware of the downsides that are associated with tying all of these devices to the internet.
I think that we can all agree that keeping the company’s network secure is one of the CIO's most important tasks. However, no matter how many firewalls we put in place or how effectively we implement two-factor authentication we still need to understand the weakest link in our security system: our employees.
What this means for a CIO is that we are responsible for training our staff to not make silly security mistakes. How best to go about doing this?
We had better come up with a good solution otherwise all of the fancy security tools in the world won’t be keeping the bad guys out.
If you were the CIO of a major bank responsible for the importance of information technology, what do you think that your #1 job responsibility would be? If you are guessing “keep the bank’s systems secure” then good news, you’d be close, but you’d still be missing the point.
It turns out that a bank’s CIO’s most important job is ensuring that the people who have trusted the bank with their money are able to both see and access it.
Over at the major American bank, Wells Fargo, their CIO has just dropped the ball and their IT systems were down for two days. This means that people could not access their money. Not a good scenario.