Career Path Theme BlockIt wasn’t that long ago that people were questioning whether the role of the CIO was still needed in enterprise companies. A lot has changed in recent years.

Digital skills and digital capital now constitute 22.5% of the global economy, according to Accenture. Companies have only just begun to unlock the potential for digital and need tech-savvy CIOs who understand how digital technologies can be applied to generate business value.

Moreover, as data has become the new oil, IT leaders are desperately needed to help companies determine which data sets offer the enterprise the most value and identify how raw data can be refined to help create new business opportunities.

These fundamental technology and market shifts are having a profound impact on the growing clout of the CIO. For instance, according to the Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey 2016 which canvassed 3,352 CIOs and technology leaders across 82 countries, 34% of CIOs now report to the CEO, representing the largest portion in the survey’s 18-year history. Meanwhile, 57% of CIOs surveyed in the study now serve as executive board members, compared to 51% last year.

As the CIO’s responsibilities continue to evolve and be redefined, this is creating new career opportunities for CIOs. As business markets continue to be disrupted, the CIO has a new mandate as the CEO of technology and is being called upon to provide bold approaches for leveraging technology to help companies drive business value and succeed in turbulent times. This manner of courageous leadership for challenging the status quo and forging strategic partnerships across industries is blazing a trail for fearless CIOs to ascend into higher leadership roles.

As companies push to digitize their businesses, there are growing opportunities for CIOs to transition into the Chief Operating Officer (COO) role, according to Gartner. Savvy CIOs are able to draw upon their experiences in building relationships and driving consensus across organizational functions to help digitization efforts succeed across the enterprise.

Meanwhile, as every enterprise has arguably become a technology company and as CIOs work closely with CEOs to architect the evolving business blueprint, this is creating new opportunities for CIOs to ascend to the CEO role. CIOs are well-positioned to leverage their comprehensive understanding of the business, their technology vision, and market acumen to help set a course for the 21st century enterprise.

Ultimately, courageous leadership is about acting with passion, conviction, and commitment. “In terms of career ascent, you have to have relentless passion and commitment for what you’re doing,” said Jonathan Landon, Global IT – CTO at Kimberly-Clark Corporation in an HMG Strategy video.


Key Takeaways

  • Foundational technology and market shifts are creating new leadership opportunities for the CIO.
  • As companies increasingly digitize their businesses, the operational and strategic requirements for creating digital business models are creating new opportunities for CIOs to transition into the Chief Operating Officer (COO) role.
  • CIOs are well-positioned to leverage their comprehensive understanding of the business, their technology vision, and market acumen to set a course for the 21st Century enterprise.