7 failures CIO can avoid to save his job

by Sohini Bagchi    Sep 06, 2013

cio fired

CIOs are having a tough time these days. They are not only expected to keep IT effectively running at a low budget, but are also expected to become business strategists and innovators. Unfortunately, many are not able to cope with this pressure, and are compelled to quit. As the head of a large enterprise states, “The business world has changed fundamentally, but some CIOs cling to the past. And the price have to pay is losing their jobs.”

Here are a few failures CIOs and IT pros can scan through to avoid getting fired from their much cherished jobs.

# 1. A Failure to lead: The CIO is not just a technology guy in the organization and he should understand that he has a more strategic role to play. The IT head should be assertive and take up more leadership roles, believes Sanjeev Kumar, Group CIO & Group President – Business Excellence of Adhunik Group. “CIOs should play a more proactive role in an organisation, understand the business and communicate in business language. In other words, the CIO today must be champions of innovation and drive business results and showcase his expertise in the organisation,” he says. Kumar believes leadership includes having a vision, a collaborative approach and a rigorous learning through reading, networking and greater interaction.

# 2. The failure to identify priorities: Not many IT leaders understand that their IT priority should translate into business priority. A Gartner report that observes a wide gap in understanding IT and business goals identifies the top five priorities of CIOs should be focusing on core competencies, retaining and attraction customers, maintaining competitive edge and most importantly, fostering innovation. “CIOs need to review strategy and programs with the CEO and key board sponsors, so they can understand clearly how IT supports their priorities,” mentions Linda Price is group vice-president, executive programmes, Gartner in a recent CIO interview.

# 3. Failure to engage with customers: companies should have a customer engagement strategy and it is important that the CIO should play an active role in enhancing customer effort. Newer technologies such as cloud computing and mobile have changed the way organizations deal with customers and CIOs are realizing that these strategies can be a key game-changer, believes Rishi Agarwal, CEO and Co-founder, Arvan Technologies. The other direct way of engagement today is the use of social media, and CIOs should leverage this platform aggressively to promote business. As Agarwal believes blogging and Tweeting can make a lot of difference in the way customers – both existing and potential – perceive a brand and form an opinion of the key executives.

# 4. Failure to go mobile: Mobile is already underway and analysts believe it is the future of enterprise. According to the recently released Mobility CIO Survey 2013 conducted by Accenture, CIOs worldwide believe that mobility will generate significant sources of new revenue for their businesses. However, a recent survey shows that 71% of senior IT leaders see mobile as transformational or strategic to their business, yet only 18% have developed a comprehensive mobile strategy. “Mobility significantly improves customer interactions and should be a top priority in every CIOs agenda if they wish to successfully contribute to business,” says Samit Ray, CIO and Director, PwC, adding it is important for CIOs – in collaboration with other C-suites – to come up with specific mobile strategies whether it’s a BYOD policy or a mobility device to be introduced in the organization.

#5. Failure to understand revenue generation: Companies that detach technology from the revenue generation may die a premature death, believes Tony Timbol, VP David Consulting Group. There are many CIOs who believe it’s not their responsibility to sell. That’s an old-school idea. Today, each member of the C-suite including the CIO should believe their primary job is to help the company grow and succeed by driving more sales.

# 6. Failure of real-time business: “CIOs are realizing the potential of real-time capabilities, to stay ahead in the race. Yet, in many cases, they don’t know where to begin,” states James Riley, global head of innovation for HCL Technologies in an article.  He believes IT leaders should judge how real-time analytics feeding real-time decisions change business operation, how could it help you engage more deeply with customers and manage inventory more productively and reach customers at the right time.

#7. Failure to transform:  Transformation is the industry buzzword. However, in reality, not many CIOs are able to transform in accordance with the business needs. A Forrester Research reveals that CIOs who exploit their knowledge of both business and technology can influence or even drive the direction of the transformation. These types vary in their degree of both transformation leadership and business involvement. Each CIO must understand his base of influence and the tactics that will be effective for that role. As Ray points out today’s high-risk, high-complexity projects that require knowledge of technology, business processes, and culture change. This requires a forward-looking approach and not merely a replication of the past - and those who realize this are the real winners.