A recent report by Forrester highlights the role that a chief information officer plays in business evolution. It comes as no surprise that CIOs are moving to the foreground given the fact that most transformation is driven primarily by technology. The old-school silos like print advertising and sales are giving way to social media solutions, advanced customer service, and e-commerce.
The complexity of the technological age requires that management be educated in the latest that the industry has to offer and how it applies to business. That is the base definition of a CIO.
The Four Personalities of a CIO
A Forrester survey taken in September of 2012 shows that 53 percent of respondents believe that the CIO is the leader in business transformations – that puts them ahead of both the CEO and CTO.
Forrester defines four different types of CIOs. The soldiers focus on implementation but often remain in the background when it comes to leadership issues. IT leaders combine administration with adding new technology as the company’s needs demand it. Consultants serve as advisors on the transformation process. They understand the basics that can help a business grow and educate others in leadership positions.
The final CIO category is a transformational leader. This take-charge manager not only researches the business growth but also makes the decisions that guide it. They micro-manage resource allocation, technology budgeting, and the progression of growth.
Which Works Best?
It is easy to categorize the role of the CIO but not all executives fit neatly into one of the slots. Often times, a company CIO fills many different levels. Marc Cecere, VP at Forrester and author of the report, states that the consultant CIO works best for companies looking to improve their systems. They can manage the transformation each step of the way. The IT leader will also be strong during a transformation.
The role that a CIO takes relies on the company culture as well. Business architecture can force a CIO to fill a soldier category even though that CIO might be better suited to work at a different level. Some soldiers make the transition seamlessly when called to move up into leadership as well.
One thing is clear based on this report: the chief information officer is the driving force for business transformation. The CIO has the skills and leverage it takes to manage change, because most will rely strongly on implementation of new technology.