I attended the CIO-DNA event earlier this week, hosted by the BCS Elite Group, the BCS London South Group and the IOD. It was a 1/2 day session with technology leaders from different organisations speaking and with some very thought provoking discussions around what makes an effective CIO and CTO, and some of the speakers’ personal journeys to becoming technology leaders.
I’ve summarised some of the key takeaway notes – the fundamental drivers behind what makes a good CIO – from the session below . Let me know what you think – do you agree?
- The CIO and CTO roles are now primarily about innovation. The focus is no longer about keeping the lights on.
- As technology leaders we need to advocate the creation of an environment in which the team feels empowered to create sparks of innovation.
- You need to be fundamentally close to the business and to the customers. They need to help drive the priorities for technology.
- A great quote from one of the speakers – “The death of the mouse is only weeks away” – in reference to how important touch is becoming and will be. Interesting point. Yes touch is critical but I think there’s a longer transition for a lot of core technology products and platforms.
- Related to touch, devices that are touch enabled remove barriers to entry for C-level executives and help get wider buy-in to new technology services.
- Communication and visualisation are key for the CIO to raise their profile. And as part of this we need to be recognised as equal contributors to business transformation. The CIO needs to be the agent of business transformation.
- See technology as an enabler to open up new markets and do things the business wasn’t doing before.
- The key areas where there are new opportunities, are – smart machines, capturing the real world, mobile computing, touch and cloud. Where cloud can be seen as more about provision and delivery.
- Knowledge management will continue to be a challenge for technology leaders, with retiring staff taking know-how with them. This isn’t a new problem though and can’t be changed. Focus instead on the new guys coming in and give them an environment that they can be most effective in – and that doesn’t just mean yes to BYOD. New recruits – and the work force of the future – now have very different expectations for IT and technology.
- Develop techniques for managing different streams of inputs and see where they match and where they conflict. Where they conflict, dig deeper – these places show the most interest.
- Move away from being a pure technologist and focus on the business transformation agenda. And get proportionately more focus on the profit side of the business – technology is no longer just about costs.
- Technology does not have users any more – something I’ve been saying for a good number of years. We need to shift our way of thinking to see them as our customers – whether external or internal ones. We as technology are providing our customers with a service!
- Understand what your customers want from the services and systems, and move then to create and deliver that!
- Create a clear future workspace vision – that allows the business and teams to be more flexible, work smarter and to work faster. And get the inputs from the business for this – don’t drive with technology.
- Technology is about change management with the business, and utilising technology to do that.
- Test the vision with the business – and use visualisation tools (e.g. storyboards and animations). See a great example of this by Gavin Walker at NATS below – this part of the session was from Gavin….
- Position technology as the enabler – to help your customers work better and more efficiently. Get the decisions pushed into the business – to give them greater accountability.
- Don’t see IT as a cost centre – the business own the costs and budget. Technology spends the budget on behalf of the business, with the business making the choices.
- Focus on change management, not technology.
- Focus on information, not systems.
These last 2 very nicely summarise where the focus needs to be for technology. A very pleasant afternoon at the BCS with a good theme and great sessions and as always great networking.
More thoughts soon!