2020-future-goals-cropped-headshotsCIOs are juggling multiple priorities. They’re being asked by the CEO to drive digital business innovation, identify and execute on developing new business models and advance the customer experience. 

Fortunately, thanks to their unique view of the enterprise along with a variety of skill sets they’ve mastered, CIOs can help move the business forward in several different ways.

“The CIO is the only C-level executive that can see across the full business and all its business lines, because the CIO and IT team support across the entire business,” said Mark Gelhardt, VP, Technology Governance at US Bank/Elavon who is also an Advisory Board member and a speaker for HMG Strategy’s upcoming 2019 Atlanta CIO Executive Leadership Summit taking place on August 15. “With this viewpoint, the CIO has pivotal knowledge for change,” adds Gelhardt.

As Teresa Miquelarena sees it, the CIO should be completely connected with the CEO in identifying and executing on future business goals. “It’s no longer the CIO and the CEO working separately – they’re now connected on shaping future business models and how IT can gain a greater understanding of the business while the CEO strengthens their understanding how of technology can be used to impact the business,” adds Miquelarena, Global Director, Intelligent Automation at Kimberly-Clark Corporation who is also an Atlanta Advisory Board member and a speaker for the summit.

Of course, in order to do any of this effectively, CIOs must be solid communicators. “The CIO should start off as a storyteller,” says Jason James, CIO at Optima Healthcare Solutions who is a fellow Atlanta Summit Advisory Board member and speaker. “CIOs can take something technical and often incredibly complex and break it down in a way that members of the C-suite can not only understand, but also care about. They can describe how a technology is going to be brought to bear, how to execute this from a change management standpoint, and how it will impact the business.”

Doing Things Differently

One of the ways that CIOs and technology executives can approach and deliver more effectively on achieving future-state goals often comes down to the differences between ‘traditional CIOs’ and ‘transformational CIOs’, says James.

“Transformational CIOs approach IT holistically and not just by enforcing the technological agenda on the organization,” says James. “Transformational CIOs have a much more engaged style with the business, CEO and the Board.”

“CIOs should have a strong understanding of the business and of technology to frame new business opportunities and shape new business models,” says Miquelarena. “When you look at how companies such as Amazon are using tech to change the way they do business and create new experiences for customers, having a strong understanding of how technology can be used to shape these experiences and business models.”

As Gelhardt sees it, the CIO is in a perfect position to act as a change agent and determine how technologies such as AI, machine learning, robotic process automation (RPA) and analytics can be used to improve productivity and reduce cost. “It is the leadership team which includes the CIO that determines what the business needs to advance,” Gelhardt says.

A key component for CIOs to help the enterprise reach its future-state goals is the ability to effectively communicate to the CEO and the board how technology can empower the business. “They need to understand who their audience is and what they’re looking for,” says James. “Your job as a CIO is to make sure you are sharing relevant information with the board while understanding that each board member has a different background and how they want to communicate with the CIO.”

“You’ve also got to get the executive team and the board to understand the importance of what the industry is doing and what competitors are doing with the understanding that we could get disrupted by an unknown source,” says Miquelarena. “This involves going back to the board and showcasing all the things being done in the digital environment to deliver better biz outcomes.” 

“In the end, the CIO needs to speak in business terms, not in technical terms,” adds Gelhardt.

To learn more about the Atlanta summit and to register for the event, click here