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Business Or Technology: What Is More Important For A CIO?

By CIOReview | Thursday, June 4, 2020

The role of a chief information officer (CIO) has changed over the years. Today, CIOs lead with influence instead of control over technology. Besides, CIOs focus on the business and the effects of technology on business outcomes. Thus, they are more suited to a background in business and leadership than tech. CIOs cannot ignore the bottom line or the outcome while forming the IT budget. Such awareness has made CIOs change their approach in running a company’s technology, which allows them to grow their corporate influence.

According to experts, the best CIOs hail from a non-technical background as they can comprehend the alignment between technology and the business and how it adds value. Michael Matthews, CIO of Oral Roberts University, says, “This is one of the best times to be an innovative and transformative CIO, while a mediocre CIO will have a hard time.”

Today’s CIOs are disruptors and are focused on business. Chief information officers understand business so they can use software and data analytics to drive the business strategy. However, according to Sanjeev Addala, CIO of GE Renewables, “A CIO must be thorough with business and have a technological background, but they have to become more proficient in business strategy than just a pure technologist.

CIOs must understand that while forming a team, a good mix of technological and business teammates, as it is harder to teach a technical employee about business than it is to teach a business-oriented employee about technology. For success, it is critically important for a CIO to understand how the business operates, leadership talent, management talent, and then have a passion for the industry.

A CIO is responsible for digital transformation along with the rise of DevOps and agile styles of working. Thus, CIO with a technical background is an invaluable asset to the company. Also, a CIO is in charge of the IT department. So, the technical experience becomes obligatory. For instance, A CIO with a purchasing background with a lack of understanding about technology can cause a lot of confusion. Most effective CIOs are going to have their feet on both the business and IT sides. 

See also: Top Digital Transformation Consulting/Services Companies

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