What’s one of the most important balances a CIO needs to strike in the job?

Leadership, Values What typically happens is that when you get a CIO in, it’s a bit like working on a smart city idea. If building the city completely ground up, it’s very easy to architect that. But if I build retrofitting newer concepts to the old architecture that needs a very different type of imagination. So the CIO’s role is to preserve the foundation of the IT infrastructure and the company on the one hand. The users have gotten so used to dull, boring login screens, and the familiarity is so high that it becomes hard to get them to start to use other systems. On the other hand the CIO is to do big grand stuff; large scale transformation and get them by orders of magnitude a competitive advantage, whether bringing the supply chain to get more agile or whether to get them more customer-focused. Marrying these two worlds is very difficult. In my personal experience, while one wants to embrace the big grand ideas and make the company look nice and shiny, you still have the fundamental job of keeping the email systems going, ensuring that the leadership all have access to handheld devices etc. So that is what I call the dull boring stuff that you have to do to keep the lights on while also embracing something that seems far flung but uniquely interesting.

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What typically happens is that when you get a CIO in, it’s a bit like working on a smart city idea. If building the city completely ground up, it’s very easy to architect that. But if I build retrofitting newer concepts to the old architecture that needs a very different type of imagination. So the CIO’s role is to preserve the foundation of the IT infrastructure and the company on the one hand. The users have gotten so used to dull, boring login screens, and the familiarity is so high that it becomes hard to get them to start to use other systems. On the other hand the CIO is to do big grand stuff; large scale transformation and get them by orders of magnitude a competitive advantage, whether bringing the supply chain to get more agile or whether to get them more customer-focused. Marrying these two worlds is very difficult. In my personal experience, while one wants to embrace the big grand ideas and make the company look nice and shiny, you still have the fundamental job of keeping the email systems going, ensuring that the leadership all have access to handheld devices etc. So that is what I call the dull boring stuff that you have to do to keep the lights on while also embracing something that seems far flung but uniquely interesting.