Chief Information Officer: Getting Down to Business1 | 2 |
On the path to becoming a CIO, it is recommended to get involved with different industry organizations.
Tietz is a member of the Illinois CIO Exchange, a for-profit technology industry association for IT leaders to discuss and implement Illinois-based technologies. Barry works with i.c.stars, a nonprofit that provides IT career programs and services to inner-city young adults. She is also a member of the Chicago Chapter of the Society for Information Management (SIM).
Beyond technical background and social involvement, many CIOs chart different educational waters, as well. In the past, degrees in software engineering, computer science, information systems or a similar field were mandatory, but many CIOs today have been recruited from more business-focused disciplines.
In fact, a CIO is likely to be pulled from the business side of the organization.
“In my case, my background is business analysis and project management,” said Barry, adding that she feels her successes are in large part due to her background in math and her master’s degree in business administration.
“Math helps with a deep understanding of logic and processes,” she said. “The MBA allows me to understand the dimensions of the business, the opportunities that would be effective for the business, and allows me to understand the impact of IT decisions and opportunities. As CIOs, we must also have a passion for people — both our staff, as well as our customers, internal and external. Understanding and appreciating the efforts necessary to deliver results is critically important in developing a strong and effective IT organization.”
Tietz added that certifications can be an important factor for people considering the CIO position.
“Certifications are a great indicator that someone has done their homework,” Tietz said. “They are valuable. For technical folks, certification is key. However, I focus on results — I look at the results more than anything.”
Both he and Barry suggested that future CIOs likely will (and should) take on additional leadership roles. The position has reached a point where it is focused on partnering with business, but in the future, IT will be leading and driving businesses through process improvement, productivity optimization and getting rid of inefficiencies.
Ultimately, CIOs are change agents who are making businesses succeed.
The domain of business intelligence is becoming increasingly chaotic, as information continues to flow out of a variety of sources and into every area of organizations.
The demand for this information to be searched, analyzed and put to intelligent use is going to skyrocket in the next several years. For this reason, many organizations and IT departments are looking for people with specific qualities tailored to suit this necessity.
“Business intelligence [BI] is the coming technology, and someone with a good background in business intelligence who understands business needs and how to apply these skills in the real world would make a valuable asset,” Tietz said. “In fact, I’m hiring BI people now.”
Technology permeates everything a business does. As technology continues to advance, and execution becomes more complex, organizations strive for leaders who are capable of addressing enterprisewide issues.
As far as moving up the IT ladder, a well-rounded background with a variety of experiences, in addition to leadership skills and effectively delivering quality projects, go hand in hand with success.
This level of growth and demand is seeding the development of more CIOs.
“A CIO is generally the product of many IT experiences,” Barry said. “These experiences are progressive, allowing the individual to grow into the title with increasing levels of responsibilities. Successful project completion and implementations, followed by effective management of staff and deliverables, ultimately becoming an effective leader who can organize and inspire a high-powered staff of IT professionals is generally the path to the CIO office.”
Ashley Poynter is a journalist and an account executive with the Bradley Wiltjer Marketing Group. She can be reached at email@example.com | 2 |