Automation is fundamentally changing the way most businesses operate and communicate. As more business leaders understand the profound ways process automation can enhance business outcomes, the role of CIOs is evolving.
In the past, the job may have been more technical or advisory in nature. The rise of process automation, business intelligence, and machine learning have meant that IT is no longer a technical support function but central to every area of business.
As automated processes become central to workflows, there is a shift in strategic planning and data-driven decisions. Artificial intelligence (AI) and better business intelligence (BI) is changing the way business leaders think about the future. As automation tech handles the more tedious admin and maintenance work, IT teams are able to work more strategically on higher-level projects.
These automated tasks are capable of producing higher-quality data with fewer errors. BI allows for higher-level analysis and benchmarking against an unlimited number of metrics. This can be used to predict business outcomes and help with critical decisions.
CIOs are front and center in the digital transformation of companies. That means not just staying on top of technical demands but being immersed in strategic business goals to drive better business decisions.
The goal has evolved from just figuring out what tech you need to fulfill a business project. The job is to design the systems that will define the business project. CIOs will serve as key players in most major business decision across departments in cross-functional teams.
Big data analytics and the crucial role tech plays in business transformation have transformed the CIO job. All of this elevates the role of a CIO from managing the technology to becoming responsible for business growth and efficiencies. Successful CIOs have evolved from process and workflow to expert consultants that understand the business outcomes.
It’s a big responsibility. It means looking ahead and understanding how cloud-based technologies, big data, AI, machine learning, and robotics are changing the workplace. It means researching how these technologies can provide efficiencies and profitability.
Broader Knowledge Base
CIOs will also need to broaden their experience level in areas outside of technology to be effective. They will need to develop additional skill sets to be successful:
- Knowledge of budgetary drivers
- Understanding of revenue drivers
- Leadership skills
- Communication skills
- High-level strategic thinking
For CIOs, this opens up doors for future career growth that weren’t available before. With a deep understanding of how everything works and comes together to result in business growth, CIOs are positioning to break out of technology silos and lead companies.
CIO To CEO
The jump from CIO to CEO is happening as businesses realize how crucial this digital transformation is to future growth.
Dawn Lepore was the CIO at Charles Schwab before becoming the CEO at drugstore.com. Greg Carmichael rose from CIO to CEO at Fifth Third Bank. Tim Campos, former CIO at Facebook, became CEO at Pulsa. Kevin Horner left IT at Alcoa to become CEO at Mastech. The list goes on.
It’s no wonder. Business consulting firm Gartner predicts the skills and knowledge business leaders will need ten years from now will have little resemblance to what is needed today. CIOs are poised to lead companies forward.
CIOs are no longer seen as “inward-looking” service providers. Instead, they have become “forward-looking” thinkers generating market insight and customer data that is being used to make critical business decisions.
Automation enables CIOs to look to future trends. The role now also demands it.