After an unprecedented year of change, many organizations are adjusting to a new status quo with technology – and technology experts – leading the way.
And changing right along with the rest of the organization is the CIO role. With more reliance on technology, remote and hybrid working environments, and more technology-focused roles in an organization, the CIO has also had to adjust to the new status quo.
What can a CIO do to cement their status and reassert themselves into the conversation?
It’s time for the CIO role to reassert itself.
The CIO Role, Reasserted
As technology has become more critical for the daily needs of a business, the role of the CIO has become more fractionalized. New technology leadership roles, such as the CTO, CDO, and CISO, have emerged within many organizations. While these emerging roles may have been responsibilities that the CIO formerly performed – at least at times – the CIO is no longer the only technology leader within the organization.
But that doesn’t mean the CIO doesn’t play a vital role among these technology-focused roles. In fact, I’d argue that with all the different technology initiatives, it’s even more important for the CIO to reassert their role in the organization. With so many specialized roles, organizations are in danger of more technology silos. So instead of being a gatekeeper or the arbiter of technology, the CIO has to become the connector, especially in this age of technology democratization.
Progressive CIOs have a deep business acumen and understand how technology contributes to the success of the business. A good CIO brings a broad, holistic view of the business and how technology can impact the bottom line – and the top line. The CIO can use these specific skills and knowledge not only to support the CTO, CDO, and CISO – but any business leader as well.
Using this holistic understanding of the business, the CIO has to become the common thread and ensure balance between the different technology roles and business leaders. Instead of Chief Information Officer, the CIO could be more like the “Central Information Officer” and be the driver of all business initiatives involving technology.
But make no mistake – this isn’t about a power grab. It’s about the idea that the CIOs knowledge of business strategies and technology will strengthen and enhance everyone’s initiatives. For example, business leaders could use the CIO’s knowledge and understanding of how to drive a positive customer experience that IT has gained through the service desk in order to improve their offerings.
This shift into the Central Information Officer requires all of the hallmarks of breaking down silos: open communication, shared workflows, and driving and emphasizing the achievement of organizational goals over isolated departmental goals.
And to do this, there is one concrete step a CIO can take to begin facilitating connections and reasserting the importance of their role.
The Start of the Reimagined CIO
CIOs can’t afford to wait to start reinventing their role. The longer a CIO waits to start connecting other technology roles, the more siloed and fractionalized the organization could become.
So where does the CIO start?
If all companies are now technology companies, and we want to connect how the different parts of the organization leverage technology, then true service management is the way forward.
But I’m not referring to ITSM of the past, where an organization would invest in a tool and blindly implement out-of-the-box workflows and constructs that weren’t designed with your company in mind. I’m referring to Enterprise Service Management (ESM), an organizational capability for delivering business value and outcomes by leveraging the resources of the organization (including technology) to produce and deliver products and services in a holistic way.
As I mentioned earlier, the progressive CIO has a holistic view of how technology and business functions work together to co-create more value for the company. In order to have that view, you have to understand the people and processes at work. People and processes are what drive businesses forward and combining people, processes, and technology in a clear, consistent and organized manner is the most impactful thing a CIO can do. That’s why effective ESM is so vital today.
Implementing a strong ESM approach is a multi-step process. First, if your IT foundation is not solid, you’ll need to clean that up before you will be able to engage other business leaders in ESM. But once you’ve audited and tightened your own workflows and your IT team is working like a well-oiled machine, then you can start to implement ESM in other parts of your business.
And the best place to start ESM is with those frequently executed value streams. This is where a CIO can test their connector powers and leverage other business leaders’ expertise to adopt ESM within their departments. Doing so results in improved transparency and underpins the importance of having effective, cross-functional processes across all parts of the organization.
ESM opens the door to better customer experience, better employee experience, better business outcomes, and better value – for both the organization and its customers. Good ESM also eliminates silos, which can be among the biggest problems organizations face as they try to scale, and truly elevates the organization as a whole.
For many organizations, the CIO saved the day last year when the pandemic hit. But as businesses move forward, the CIO can’t bank on past successes to maintain their leverage in an organization. Reasserting the CIO role requires open collaboration, effective communication, and bringing other parts of the organization together. Strong ESM is the path forward for CIOs to reassert their role within the organization.
How can ESM help your organization? How can you leverage ESM as an organizational strategy to connect your organization in such a way that drives and enables success? Contact me today for a free, no-obligation 30-minute chat to discuss!Share