What is takes to be a great CIO

man climbing ladder to successAs one of the finalists for CIO of the Year in the BCS and Computing UK IT Industry Awards 2011 I was interviewed about my career and achievements to date. The theme of the interview was ‘what does it take to make a great CIO?’

Whilst each of the five CIOs interviewed answered the questions based on their own experiences across different industries and organisations one common theme stands out across each of our interviews: you must get to know the business – you need to understand what your customer wants. It’s the only way you can know what services to provide, ensure you are designing the right solutions and putting in place the right skills and resources to meet the business needs.

In getting to know the business and what it needs from technology you will identify and, more importantly, build relationships with the key stakeholders. This is invaluable in maintaining the flow of communication and developing the relationship between IT and the rest of the business. If managed correctly it will enable the CIO to influence the business and ultimately, for the CIO and IT, to become a valued business partner.

Being a great CIO is a complex question that cannot be answered briefly. It takes years to develop the broad range of skills and knowledge required to be a successful CIO. But getting to know the business and how it operates is as good a starting place as any.

The interviews with the CIO of the Year finalists were published in the December edition of the BCS’s ITNOW magazine (click here). The video version of the interviews are also online at http://bit.ly/sfghUY.

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