10 must-have qualities in a proficient CIO


The Chief Information Officer -CIO- of today has come a long way up the corporate ladder from what the position was a few years ago.

From a person, perhaps earlier known and hired solely for his solid technical IT skills, CIOs have swiftly emerged out of the shadows. They rewrote their roles and the so-called “backroom boys” metamorphosed into true blue strategic partners, rubbing shoulders and sitting in boardrooms, completely at ease alongside their other C-suite associates.

The question earlier was – Is a CIO necessary? When do we appoint a CIO?  Who do we appoint as a CIO?

With IT literally being the competitive leverage it has become today, the deep value impact of a CIO on an enterprise can scarcely be ignored. Constructing a robust digital platform and constantly tweaking operations, it is the CIO flexing his digital muscle, who helps orchestrate innovation, growth, plus product and service differentiation to enable the enterprise to stay ahead of change, as well as the competition.

Post the pandemic crisis with organizations in the throes of responding to multiple challenges, the focus of the Chief Information Officer amid all the uncertainty is to get things done quickly. This means that the scope and depth of the Chief information officer skills have expanded and taken on a different hue.

So if an enterprise is looking to appoint a Chief Information Officer, it has to first clearly analyze and recognize that the Chief information officer skills are at par with the tricky business landscape of today.

Here is a quick rundown of the top Chief information officer skills that you need to look for, when you are either appointing one or you intend to make a career out of it.

1. Deep digital knowledge

Every CIO has to possess this performance crucial trait of being tech-savvy. Being informed of precisely what IT solutions an enterprise needed and responding to those needs with knowledge, is also a much-needed trait. Keeping abreast of emerging trends and technology to deliver business goals is of course mandatory.

2. Innovative bent of mind

CIOs need to take leadership roles to shape an organization’s growth path. Proactively responding to business events with innovation is something that is needed to keep up and also stay ahead of the competition.

3. Disruptive thinking capabilities and abilities

Technology can be highly disruptive. The CIO must be willing to adjust and respond to these disruptions smartly. At the same time, the modern CIO will also look to harness these disruptions to create bigger opportunities for the organization and also capture a larger slice of market share.

4. Clear vision of digital and IT architecture

A CIO does not really have to be familiar with every tool or program. What is needed is a larger and clearer understanding of what goes into creating a powerful IT architecture. This will allow better planning, faster transitioning between business units, and smooth digital transformation.

5. Cool practical approach for crisis management

Every CIO needs crisis management skills of the top order to anticipate, respond and deal with unforeseen events and operational issues.

6. Updated cyber security knowledge

Malicious spyware and cyber-attacks can cripple an organization. Every CIO has to have the know-how to access and assess current threat levels in this domain, to prevent and mitigate attacks by deploying state-of-the-art solutions at business-sensitive points in the IT architecture.

7. Ability to adapt

A key professional trait of a CIO would be the ability to smoothly and successfully adapt to the changes and at the same time also lead the team through turbulent times to achieve business goals.

8. Ability to grasp and visualize the big picture

A smart CIO should have that intrinsic ability to look at both, the immediate needs, as well as the future needs of the enterprise. A holistic understanding facilitates long-term planning and also makes it possible to measure the impact of events and decisions.

9. High on emotional intelligence

A CIO needs to be sensitive to the moods and behavior of his teammates. Being aware means creating a bond of empathy that can strengthen relationships and lead to better results.

10. All round leadership qualities

The CIO of today has to demonstrate solid leadership qualities and lead from the front. Strategic thinking and sound technical know-how blended with business savvy decision-making are quite the essentials. 

The CIO is no longer simply a resource. It is a position demanding agile, multifaceted skills that straddle both the virtual and the real world. It is time that every organization realizes the role the Chief information officer plays and the value a Chief information officer skills can add to the growth trajectory of an enterprise.

Read more such interesting articles on not just the CIO, but also about how startups are evolving and who are the people making a difference on coffeemug.ai

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Q. What are the skills needed for today’s CIO?

A. Today’s CIO must be capable of 

  • Understanding of the business and its objectives
  • A diplomatic attitude and the ability to create contacts 
  • An unrivaled understanding of IT and the broader technical world
  • The ability to convert technical jargon into layman’s terms
  • Management of crises and transitions

Q. What is important to a CIO?

A. CIOs must understand how to run a business because the role necessitates a thorough understanding of how a firm operates from top to bottom. CIOs should also be informed of technology trends, as it is possible that technology will alter in the next two to three years.

Q. What makes a good CIO?

A. A successful CIO must be able to build a compelling vision and oversee execution. CIOs are expected to be decision-makers, communicators, and anticipators.. 

Q. Why the CIO role is important in decision making?

A. People, procedures, outsourcing agreements, financials, governance, risk, and overall strategy are all managed by CIOs. A superb CIO is someone who can manage and drive a team while being equally business and tech smart. They must be able to prioritize and make compromises.

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