How can CIOs continue to be relevant?

by Ankita Mohinta    Jul 12, 2013


Most Indian CIOs have a strong business connect as they operate across various sectors ranging from pure IT, banking, airlines etc. But will the role of CIOs be relevant in the next 5 to 10 years? A Zinnov Conference held today had a panel discussion on the evolving role of CIOs and how they can keep up with today’s dynamic market scenario. The focus should be to blend business with technical vision. Some key skills required would include:

Business acumen: CIOs need to keep a track of managing the needs of stakeholders because budgets nowadays are being handled by different managerial head as opposed to being centralized. CIOs need to be technical riders and for that scales need to be built.

Financial acumen: “CIOs need to be aware of core competencies like the ability to collaborate, stay resilient and have a sound understanding of business. Core knowledge of ROI and budgets will help provide significant insight,” said Arindam Sen, SVP, Global Delivery and Tech Services, Schneider-Electric IPO Organization at the Zinnov panel discussion.

Leadership skills: IT is often not enough for CIOs to be technologically savvy, knowledgeable and ambitious. They need to be an evangelist for the leadership team in organizations.

From a soft skill perspective, CIOs need to focus on the following:

Manage internal customer services: This is an important trait, as CIOs need to react faster to evolving technologies.

Communication skills: Indian CIos have always been good persuaders but it is important to understand the culture and working environment in a global forum as well. This will help Indian CIOs to communicate on an international level.

Analytical skills: India has a long standing tradition of producing good engineers with analytical skills. But it is important for Indian CIOs to not only be one-dimensional but multi-faceted which will in turn help spurn innovation.

So traditionally looked upon as a support function, CIOs can become enablers of business. They need to set IT standards. This multi-dimensional approach will lead them to be successful on a global platform.