I recently came across an interesting article on the Dawn of the hybrid CIO which talked about a new strategic frontier focused around the opportunity for CIOs to lead more broadly through the power of customer data. In reading this, I reflected on my own recent evolution of my CIO role, and wanted to share my thoughts on where I looked to have broader impact, and what other CIOs might consider if they aspire to play a broader business role, and position themselves to drive revenue and impact.
In my organization, we have been continuously transforming the technology, the company and our business over the last few years to stay competitive and look for new opportunities. On the one hand, this has been a good lesson in the fact that transformation does not end after the first big effort, but must happen continuously. On the other hand, at each stage of transformation, I have looked for the opportunity to not only work with my CEO and executive team peers to look for ways to leverage technology in the transformation, but to take the lead to transform the company through technology. This – for me – has provided a chance to add bottom line value in new and different ways, as well as bring my executive team along to truly understand the power of technology to drive the business. (As a side note, I shared some of the valuable things I learned about linking IT investments to business value in an earlier transformation effort in this Center case study entitled Linking IT Investments to Business Value.)
More recently we have been looking at new ways to leverage data and transform the services we offer to our existing client base. In the course of this effort, we uncovered a significant challenge with our client services department. I saw the opportunity to leverage the approach I had taken within IT to re-organize delivery support, streamline communications, and improve our interaction with internal customers, and use it to revamp our external client services function. I was ultimately able to make the case for taking over the client services function along with IT, and the result is a significant improvement in client satisfaction and service delivery.
Making the case
While this step seemed to be an obvious one to me, it took some education with colleagues and clients for them to see why the role of the CIO should transform again. And the ultimate case touched on the points raised in the article I referenced earlier – it all comes down to the data. Given that 99% of the issues that arise in our industry- and in our company’s service delivery – are data related, what makes better sense than managing that within the CIO’s office. My own business background in consulting and service delivery was helpful to the case as well, but I see the data as driving opportunity for all CIOs to take on more aspects of driving the business and leading the company towards true customer centricity. After taking the time to build the case and bring my colleagues along, upon presenting the new paradigm to the Board, they understood the need and agreed with the value immediately.
Where is your opportunity?
I know that I am not alone in seeing the leadership opportunities for CIOs in the exploding role of data across all industries and enterprises. In fact, a number of my fellow Center CIO members have contributed to Center research on this topic. My question is – how will you seize this opportunity in your own organization? What are you doing to become a “hybrid CIO?”