When CIOs transition to another organization, one of the opportunities this provides them is the ability to create a new technology roadmap for the company. And while this represents an exciting undertaking, this also represents a pursuit that’s fraught with challenges. After all, as a newcomer to the organization, the new CIO has very little background information with which to work off of in terms of the current technology roadmap that’s in place and whether it is well-aligned to the company’s business plans.

A good starting point for developing a quick but thorough understanding of the company’s business strategies is by becoming an avid listener. Capture everything that’s being shared in meetings with line of business and functional leaders to get a sense of their priorities and their view of the company’s current capabilities and gaps that need to be addressed.

Drop-in visits with top executives is another valuable way to learn more about the ideas and priorities that key business leaders have for growing the business  and creating new value opportunities. It’s a great way to help develop one-on-one relationships with key stakeholders while learning about their individual aspirations.

Fact-finding conversations shouldn’t be limited to the C-suite. Be sure to talk to top IT lieutenants and other members of the IT staff about their views on opportunities for improving alignment between IT and the business, as well as their recommendations for actions that can be taken. Such discussions can help build rapport with members of the IT team while demonstrating that you value their opinions.

Ask questions about why things are done certain ways in the enterprise, both with members of the IT staff as well as business leaders. It’s a great way to learn about the company’s culture and to help determine whether the enterprise is receptive to innovation and change.

Once the CIO has obtained a fairly clear picture of the company’s business goals and existing technology roadmap, conduct a gap analysis of current resources and technologies to determine what’s needed to get to the desired state. This is a great opportunity for an incoming CIO to make an unbiased evaluation of the company’s current technological capabilities, skills, and other resources that are available and the competencies that are needed to reach the next level.

Conducting these evaluations can help with both short- and long-term planning. A rapid yet intense evaluation of an organization’s business objectives and technology assets can help determine what the immediate business priorities are and the low-hanging fruit that can be addressed quickly to achieve quick wins.

It’s also another way for the CIO to deliver value to the enterprise. As Marc Frons, former SVP & CIO at The New York Times who recently became SVP Global Head of Mobile Platform and Deputy Head of Technology at News Corp. shares in an HMG Video, “I think a CIO needs to be fundamentally strategic and also help the organization understand the value of technology…and how it can help the organization to shape and transform a business.”

Key Takeaways:

  • A newly-installed CIO has very little background about the current technology roadmap that’s in place in the organization and whether it is well-aligned to the company’s business plans.
  • Listen closely to the company’s business priorities that are shared in the first few months in the job and meet often with key executives and members of the IT team to learn not only what the top objectives are but to understand the company’s culture and whether it’s open to innovation and change.
  • Conduct a gap analysis of current resources and technologies to determine what’s needed to get to the desired state.