The CIO Revolution, And Why It’s Critical For Business

The CIO Revolution

All employees play their part in the success that a business enjoys, but it’d be a bold claim to suggest that some people don’t have more influence than others. It’s just the facts in a competitive society with hierarchal employment structures. Although the greater influence is situational and clearly doesn’t make a given person worth more than another, you get the point.

A CIO is the type of person I’m talking about here in 2013. They’re important. So much so that it wouldn’t be viable for a legitimate business to survive in a competitive market without someone performing the role (or a similar role) at an extremely high level.

The CIO is the liaison between business technology and the company’s operational strategy. With customer demands on a consistent upswing, this has become a very integral part of thriving in the economy. Information needs to be processed at adequate speeds to get a product or service where it needs to be, when it needs to be there.

Below are the main ways that the CIO role has transformed over the last several years, and why the progression makes the job a much more significant player in any company’s plans.

Lateral and vertical involvement has grown

The business economy has become much more demanding in recent years due to a volatile economy and the pressure to succeed in times of opportunity. This puts intense pressure on IT departments to uphold and maintain business ventures. The pressure put on a company’s technology is immediately inherited by the CIO, or the person with a different title handling the intersection of company operations and advanced technological tools.

In 2013, the CIO is no longer tasked with simply making sure the IT department runs smoothly. He or she is tasked with distributing technology and practical information across all facets of a business model, laterally and vertically. The CEO and COO need to understand why information is being processed the way it is, and the Data Modeler and Systems Administrator need to understand how their daily role is affecting the actual product or service the business offers to the customer.

The world of a company’s departments working completely exclusively is long gone. Any major disconnect from an operational standpoint, particularly involving technological processes, will lead to major shortcomings in the open market. The CIO is often responsible for making sure all departments are working toward a common goal, and comprehending how and why it’s happening that way.

Analytics have become more part of the routine

In the past, IT managers or CIOs were tasked more simply with maintaining routine processes and networks. Troubleshooting and practical tasks were the name of the game. In 2013, it’s all about analyzing information, data management, data storage and all facets of technology within a business. Whether it’s deciding on cloud utilization and how it would cater to more effective procedure or comparing batch processing methods, it all boils down to the CIO.

The task of making sure technology is utilized efficiently is still a focal point, but businesses require more from their tech leaders nowadays. They need to help the CEO and COO understand how the IT department is impacting the front line and the actual customers receiving the service or product. The disconnect simply can’t be there, and this puts more emphasis on analytics when the CIO’s role is defined.

Staffing of IT departments has become more calculated

The hiring of a staff to maintain a company’s technology has become a much more intricate process, as employees’ roles have transitioned from one-track projects to much more diverse responsibilities. For Instance, employees need to be interchangeable (to a reasonable degree). The Systems Analyst should be able to do the Network Administrator’s job for an afternoon each week after working with software development all morning, and vice versa.

The need for a multifaceted staff makes the hiring process more difficult and adds extra weight to a CIO’s or other leader’s plate of responsibility. It’s no longer simply about hiring a young person with a computer science degree and giving him or her two tasks that he or she will do each day. In the modern business economy, each employee needs to have a diverse skill set when they walk in the door.

The CIO or equivalent within a company has always been important. Business operates with the production, communication and understanding of information. In 2013, customer demands and technology have formed a perfect storm of expectations that demands efficiency. This is where the modern CIO comes in.

By Adam Kinsey,

Adam Kinsey writes for Silicus, a technology consulting company.

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