A great CIO is a rare hybrid: one part businessperson, one part computer geek. We so often see in ERP implementations, success requires a CIO who is willing to stand behind the process and drive the necessary organizational change.
The modern business cannot afford to run its information technology as an ad hoc sidebar to its business processes. Its CIO must take responsibility for implementing and sustaining a technology infrastructure that is consistent with growth and strategic objectives.
Leveraging knowledge of technology to meet the needs of the business is the name of the game. A great CIO really understands operations, and can relate professionally and personally to senior management.
If you’re a CEO looking for that perfect CIO to take your business forward, or a CIO wondering if you have what it takes, below are some critical characteristics every great CIO should display proudly:
- Always learning and growing
To be successful at any level of IT, you must always be learning. If you don't, you’ll be left behind. This is even truer for more senior personnel. A great CIO ensures they stay ahead of emerging trends and be able to harness the optimal infrastructure for company growth.
- Master of communication
Establishing and maintaining your communication and relationship-building skills is essential. A great CIO knows how to work with internal groups (developers, support techs, senior management, database administrators, project managers and every department head) and external vendors.
- Business and industry knowledge
Knowing the ins and outs of all your hardware and software is where the job starts. What separates the good from the great is knowing your company's business well and all the details that surround the industry.
- Ability to market ideas and influence people
A CIO has to be effective at getting people on board with vision and solutions. CIOs need to be able to articulate the value proposition of any given project and align various people, departments and vendors around a common goal.
- Recognizing and growing talent
One of the most important skills is the ability to recognize, secure and retain good people. It's impossible for a CIO to know and understand everything there is within the range and scope of technology. Surrounding themselves with talent and brains is the best move a CIO can make.
Great CIOs are constantly looking for ways to increase ROI on ERP and other technology investments, and should be able to clearly articulate a path forward for the infrastructure of the business. This means a strong focus on technology, deployment, innovation, and cost reduction within the company’s infrastructure. Knowing this, an effective CIO creates the platform for business growth and is an essential part of the executive team.