The role of the CIO as a catalyst for business change.

As the business environment becomes increasingly complex and competitive, the role of Chief Information Officer has become more and more predominant in shaping the way that organisations adapt to change and take on new challenges. Rapidly developing technologies can help to increase business efficiency, expand reach and provide a wider offering. Central to this is the CIO, who needs to build innovation into the business strategy to ensure that information technology investments generate the maximum return on investment, and, equally, to push for dynamism and constant improvements to prevent the business from lagging behind its competitors.

Here are a few important considerations for CIOs as they take on the role of change agents within their organisation.

Own the role
A CIO has the opportunity to be a powerful catalyst for change. Acknowledging this and committing to performing that function is critical if CIOs intend to drive change and progress in their organisation. The CIO also needs to do a great deal of research and build extensive knowledge around the industry and competitive landscape, the mechanisms of change management and technology trends and best practices.

Focus on collaborative leadership
A CIO needs to have strong leadership abilities and strategic thinking capabilities. To build change into the big-picture vision for a business requires a solid ability to predict changes in the market and balance opportunity with risk. Additionally, the CIO must work in tandem with other leaders within the organisation to drive changes forward. When faced with resistance, such as an attitude of “if it isn’t broken, don’t try and fix it”, the CIO must be able to present a strong case for how processes can be streamlined and productivity can be boosted.

Move across silos to understand what the company truly needs
Often, implementing systems based on the IT requirements of individual departments results in unnecessary expenses and inefficiency. While it is critical to interact with different silos and gain detailed and hands-on knowledge about what they need, ultimately it is critical to cut across the divisions of a business and developing and implementing technology solutions that service the needs of the organisation as a whole. While this can be challenging, it lays the groundwork for a change strategy that allows the organisation to work cohesively and for all departments to benefit from new technologies.

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