How did Covid accelerate the transition of the CIO role from tech person to business partner?

I think the transformation from the CIO having to be the most technical person in the room to being more of a business partner evolved over the last 5–8 years. Many organizations who are interested in that new model have the CTO running the operations component of the program rather than the CIO. And that is not to say that the CIO shouldn't pay attention to the technology and operations, but now anything in business is going to have a technology component to it, so the two have to go hand in hand. The pandemic upped the game for all of us that much more. I don't think in a lot of cases, the business really knew how dependent it was on technology until they had to shift to work from home and execute their business model remotely. A lot of the conversations I was involved in before the pandemic were operational, even though I was trying to keep them strategic. I had to keep reminding the business that they need to have a strategy and that governance plays off of strategy. With finite resources, it's really important that the way in which resources are allocated ties back to something that business is doing. I've been in higher ed for eight years, and most of my career prior to that was actually in pharma and life sciences, with a brief stint in a Corporate Finance department. What I learned in every other organization I've been in is that the CEO has goals, and then those goals cascade down to direct reports. It doesn't really work that way in higher ed so much. Aligning the technology to the business strategy and being part of that conversation really was starting to change, but it changed in earnest once the pandemic hit.

Anonymous Author
I think the transformation from the CIO having to be the most technical person in the room to being more of a business partner evolved over the last 5–8 years. Many organizations who are interested in that new model have the CTO running the operations component of the program rather than the CIO. And that is not to say that the CIO shouldn't pay attention to the technology and operations, but now anything in business is going to have a technology component to it, so the two have to go hand in hand. The pandemic upped the game for all of us that much more. I don't think in a lot of cases, the business really knew how dependent it was on technology until they had to shift to work from home and execute their business model remotely. A lot of the conversations I was involved in before the pandemic were operational, even though I was trying to keep them strategic. I had to keep reminding the business that they need to have a strategy and that governance plays off of strategy. With finite resources, it's really important that the way in which resources are allocated ties back to something that business is doing. I've been in higher ed for eight years, and most of my career prior to that was actually in pharma and life sciences, with a brief stint in a Corporate Finance department. What I learned in every other organization I've been in is that the CEO has goals, and then those goals cascade down to direct reports. It doesn't really work that way in higher ed so much. Aligning the technology to the business strategy and being part of that conversation really was starting to change, but it changed in earnest once the pandemic hit.
1 upvotes