The reasons why today’s CIO has the hardest job in the business
For most of my career I’ve had the privilege of working closely with hundreds of business and IT leaders and their solution providers. I have come to recognise them as trusted and objective connectors within the business. My role has involved identifying the challenges of modern IT leaders – while looking to match them with proven solutions.
At our recent CIO Edge conferences and roundtables, and after several face to face conversations, I am amazed at the challenges CIOs and IT leaders deal with day to day. To help us all understand and empathise with the challenges they face, I thought I’d summarise just the last six months of our interactions with them, outlining the many challenges they face and the variety of jobs they are tasked with.
A week in the life of a CIO
- These multi-talented and essential executives are expected to do so much. The variety and sheer quantity of roles, tasks and challenges CIOs must deliver on is astonishing:
- They need to constantly balance cost and agility.
- They must keep the lights on, while modernising legacy.
- As well as effectively communicating IT to executives, they need to inspire their own team, where they must seek and retain talent in the face of growing skills shortages.
- They’re being asked to deliver exceptional customer and employee experiences and digitised processes across new, varied and multiple workspaces.
- They are expected to deliver a modern integrated data architecture across multiple clouds.
- They must build a world class software factory which must somehow stay in continuous development.
- They manage multiple projects and vendors.
- They manage the business case, chargebacks, budgets and ROI.
- They must – somehow – guarantee Government, Risk and Compliance (GRC) policy, conduct due diligence, oversee mergers, and build and maintain a secure culture of trust across multiple environments. This often extends to other organisations’ infrastructure.
- They make decisions, manage change, mitigate project failures and confront the never-ending challenges of user training and uptake.
- They have CEO, CFO, board and executive pressures, and they are expected to implement decisions from multiple committees.
- They need to take into account shareholder value, stakeholder management, and interdepartmental politics.
- The new breed of Chief Digital Officers, Transformation Leads and Chief Marketing Officers are moving into their turf, and Line of Business leaders are increasingly impatient.
- They must manage shadow IT and applications, cloud and IT sprawl.
And that’s just Business As Usual.
On top of all this they need to find time to:
- Deliver on Innovation and to be future ready.
- Catch up and keep up with emerging technology and competitive threats.
- And somehow make sure their personal brand as IT advocate can prove the value and perception of IT to senior management and the rest of the organisation.
And all this derives from just six months of content I have written for ADAPT Edge events and roundtables!
We know from our CIO community that it is a bloody tough and often lonely role. There is real frustration around falling budgets, resource constraints, culture and politics, and the challenge to deliver when it is so hard to find time apart outside of Business As Usual.
I hope we can all empathise and help to give them the Edge they need.
That is what we do at ADAPT. That is what we will always do.