What it takes to become a CEO

The future chief information officer, and their team, need a suite of skills much broader than that of pure technology. Technology is changing at an ever increasing pace. We are, for example, living and working through the rise of big data, the internet of things and we are just starting to see how artificial intelligence is beginning to offer new business opportunities. What it takes to become a CEO is then, very much, an evolving topic of discussion.

A recent report launched by BCS - Building CIO strategies with data - explores what it takes to become a CEO. The document draws on survey data gathered and analysed by BCS. It delves into the specific technology skills that may be required. These will, of course, vary across organisations and sectors but include:

  1. Data science as a technical discipline. As digital transformation accelerates, businesses generate ever increasing volumes of data. Business critical insights may be ripe for discovery and for action. The BCS Data Management Specialist Group provides a community space where data practitioners can meet, learn and share insights.
  2. Architectural skills necessary to build complex services-based integrations, and bring agile development approaches (and Dev Ops) into teams. Certification in business analysis disciplines is a means of ensuring skills are kept current.
  3. Broader agile project approach skills coupled with service design skills to allow for user (and customer) centric methods. VeriSM™ is a service management approach, specifically tailored to support organisations and to help them succeed in the world of digital services.
  4. Enterprise architecture capabilities to understand the entire organisation’s technology and business estate. As an organisation, BCS publishes a wealth of articles, books and papers about IT management. Much of this content is freely downloadable.
  5. Approaches to governance that can balance the flexibility required to adopt the new with the need to protect business and customer assets and data from risks.

Becoming a CEO

More general management skills CIOs need to build to enable the management of technology within an organisation include:

  1. Soft skills of influence, emotional intelligence and stakeholder management required to lead effectively.
  2. Effective people and change management are necessary to help facilitate meaningful business and customer change influenced by technology.
  3. Building skills in business and customer literacy, enabling technology to be put into a context that allows everyone to see the possibilities for delivering business value.

To build a new mix of skills and personalities within the team will require new approaches. Building relationships with end customers will be vital as is helping academia and suppliers to see the needs of organisations and their customers so they can, in turn, shape their offers.

Ultimately though, becoming a CEO involves a number of new challenges that will require significantly more than keeping up to date with technology alone. There is value in managing technology within an organisation, but for the future CIO it will increasingly be with a fresh perspective of focusing on customers and their needs.

To help you understand what it takes to become a CIO, download the report Building CIO strategies with data.

About this blog

Supporting the government’s ‘Digital by Default’ strategy we’re keen everyone has the skills and confidence to use IT. Here, we share thoughts on a variety of digital matters.

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August 2018
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