What 3 Questions Should CIOs Be Asking?

 CIOs become better by asking the right questions
CIOs become better by asking the right questions
Image Credit: Tom

As a CIO we are always searching for ways that we can better communicate the importance of information technology in order to improve ourselves, our IT shop, and, of course, our company. Exactly how go about doing this is one of life’s greatest mysteries. It turns out that each and every one of us has the skills that it takes to make this kind of improvement happen. All that we have to do is to ask ourselves the right types of questions. Do you know what questions you should be asking yourself right now?

Big Opportunities

Ultimately the company’s IT department exists to help the company become more competitive. What this means for you as the person with the CIO job is that you you always need to be looking for the really big and scary opportunities. The reason that this responsibility falls on your shoulders is because you know what is currently possible and what is not. You need to identify the big ideas that can transform the company and then you need to take the time to determine if they can be done now or if you are going to have to wait for the correct technology to arrive.

Good Enough

Every company needs to be able to communicate with its customers. What this means is that the person in the IT position is going to have to be able to create software that their customers can use. As the CIO you are going to have to be asking the hard questions. Can your IT team create software that is good enough to be used by your company’s customers? Note that just because they can create internal tools does not mean that they have the ability to create customer facing software. Creating the ability to do this within your IT department may require you to collocate product experts, customer service reps, and IT pros together into the same work space.

Customer Needs

What the IT department produces needs to be closely tied to what the company’s customers want. The IT team is going to have to sit down with the company’s customers and understand exactly how they want to interact with the company. Company experts who understand what the company can offer need to be brought into the discussion of how the company should be offering its products. The goal has to be to make it easier for customers to gain access to the products and services that they want.

What All Of This Means For You

CIOs always have to be changing and growing. What we want to do is to find ways to become better than we are right now. The trick is to understand how we can go about finding ways to improve ourselves. One of the easiest ways to make this happen is to learn how to ask the right questions.

Important questions for CIOs to ask include finding out what the big opportunities that are facing the IT department are. Once you know what these are, you can start to plan how you want to tackle them. Next, you have to determine if your software developers are good enough to create software that your external customers will use. Finally, what does your IT department spend its time doing? Are you spending enough time trying to understand your customer’s needs?

In order to be a good CIO, not only do you have to ask the right questions, but you also have to take the time to understand the answers that these questions will produce. Once you know these, you’ll need to take action based on what you’ve learned. This is how a CIO can become better!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: Who in your organization can help you to get the answers to the questions that you’ll be asking?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Guess what: there’s been another hacker break in. This time it happened at the big U.S. healthcare provider Anthem. Nobody’s quite sure how big of a breech it was, but initial guesses are saying that tens of millions of customer records may have been copied by hackers. What makes this break-in even worse is that Anthem didn’t bother to encrypt the customer data that was sitting in their database. This means that the thieves got valid social security numbers that they could use for all sorts of bad things. What should the person with the Anthem CIO job have done?

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