What Does A CIO Need To Be Doing Now To Prepare For The Future?

CIOs need to be focused on what they need to be doing to prepare for the future
CIOs need to be focused on what they need to be doing to prepare for the future
Image Credit: Scott Smithson

Being a CIO is a demanding job. It seems as though there is too much to be done almost every day. There are people to be managed, vendors to be talked to, and technology decisions that because of the importance of information technology will affect the entire company that have to be made each and every day. However, it turns out that that’s not all that you need to be doing. You also have to be preparing for the future. The future is coming fast and you need to prepare your company for it. Do you know how to do this?

In The Future, What’s Going To Be Important?

Unfortunately, one of the most important jobs that a CIO has to be good at is the ability to see into the future. What your IT department is working on today is important now, but as we move forward, its importance is going to diminish. It will be replaced by other technologies and your staff will have to acquire new skills. It’s going to be your job to see what’s coming before it arrives.

In the world of IT, right now there are multiple changes that CIOs have identified as being the cause of change for their IT departments. Big data, the cloud, and mobility are three of the most important. What a CIO has to realize is that the CIOs at his company’s competition are also aware of these changes. This means that you are going to have to make changes that will position your company out in front of everyone else who has been able to see the same set of changes coming. What it’s going to take to keep your company in the lead is to make your systems smarter at the same time that you adapt to new technologies.

In the new world that is coming our way, the companies that are going to survive are going to be the ones who have the ability to learn. As every CIO knows, what it takes for a business to learn is data. In the past we struggled to get all of the data that we needed because in order to store a great deal of data takes a very large IT infrastructure. However, with the arrival of the cloud and our ability to now activate as much storage on demand as we need, all companies can now store and process as much data as they need. This means that that data can now be processed and companies can learn things that they never could before.

What Will The Role Of The CIO Be Going Forward?

As technology changes, so too does the company. As the company changes, the role of the person with the CIO job will also be changing. One of the biggest changes that will be impacting CIOs in the future is how the company deals with all of the information that it collects. Right now a great deal of information is being collected. However, the company is unsure of exactly how to process all of that data.

The challenge that CIOs are facing today with the data that they have is that their systems don’t know what they have. Customer purchase records look exactly the same as vendor invoices which look exactly the same as employee timesheets. What is missing is the ability of the company’s systems to understand what kind of data has been stored and how to process it. Simply keeping the data laying around won’t do anyone any good.

As the CIO what you are going to need to do in the future is to make changes to the systems that the company uses. What will need to be done is that the ability to learn is going to have to be added to these corporate tools. Once this has been accomplished, then as more and more data is collected by the company, the tools that the company uses to process that data will progressively get smarter and smarter. It is this ability for the company’s systems to learn that will allow the company to both grow and thrive in the future.

What All Of This Means For You

There is one common trait that all CIO jobs share: they are always changing. As much as we get involved in the day-to-day issues that make up being a CIO, we also have to realize that a big part of our job is looking to the future and understanding what changes will be affecting our company. Although not easy to do, this is a critical part of the job for the person in the CIO position.

In order to understand how things will be changing in your IT department, you need to understand what major technologies will be impacting your company. Right now it appears that there are three disruptive technologies that will have the greatest impact on every IT department: big data, the cloud, and mobility. Most companies are already collecting a great deal of data; however, they currently don’t have the tools that are needed to process it. With the arrival of these new technologies, corporate applications will now be able to be taught how to learn and then as they process more data, they will grow smarter.

The future is not here yet, but it is on its way. As a CIO it is going to be your responsibility to be ready to deal with the changes that are coming your way when they arrive. Understanding what technologies will have the greatest impact on your IT department is a great way to start. Now you need to make sure that you have plans in place to transform your IT department from the way that it is to the way that it will be.

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

Question For You: Do you think that your IT staff can become experts on new and emerging technology or will new staff have to be be brought in with this knowledge?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I guess if you take the time to think about it, being the person with the CIO job is a lot like being the coach of a football team. You think about the players that you need, you interview a lot of people, pick a few of them to join your team, and then the season starts. On top of all of the other things that you need to be worrying about, one thing that you’d like to be able to not have to deal with is the issue of your best and brightest workers leaving your team half-way through the season. What do you need to be doing in order to ensure that this doesn’t happen?

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