As business leaders increasingly look toward technology to drive revenue, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) roles and responsibilities have drastically changed. CIOs are no longer only responsible for saving money and improving costs. They’re expected to be proactive decision-makers who drive innovation that sustains and increases revenue growth.
Now more than ever, it’s important for CIOs to step outside of their technology bubble and consider the overall needs of the business. Here’s how today’s CIOs can make the transition from functional tech leaders to strategic business partners.
1. Think bigger than technology
CIOs have historically taken a technology-centric approach to IT. This approach leaves businesses with a siloed IT strategy that isn’t integrated with their core goals and processes. To overcome this obstacle, CIOs have to become more forward-thinking and deliver solutions that drive business—as opposed to technology—KPIs. These business KPIs could be revenue growth, faster speeds to market or increased customer retention.
Of course, CIOs can’t deliver an IT strategy that impacts business KPIs if they don’t have a clear understanding of where the business is going. CIOs that successfully contribute to the bottom line are involved in conversations about business strategies and goals early on. For instance, IT collaborating with Marketing, Operations and Finance helps boost user acquisition, user retention and overall profitability.
2. Lead revenue-generating initiatives
CIOs who want an equal seat at the executive leadership table have to take the lead on proposing revenue-generating initiatives. For instance, if you think building an e-commerce business is worth a shot, present your idea and hold yourself accountable to the outcomes. Taking this initiative enables CIOs to see, firsthand, the business implications of technology.
3. Articulate the “why” behind technology investments
Executives tend to initially understand technology solutions as cost-saving measures. CIOs can broaden this perspective by articulating how their proposed investments are directly tied to the priorities of the business. Instilling confidence in executive leadership that you can drive revenue will help you make the case for deeper investments in innovation in the future.
4. Bring in the best tech talent
Skill gaps on internal tech teams is one of the top obstacles to achieving digital transformation for most businesses. CIOs can’t lead an IT transformation if they don’t have the right team around them. By hiring a team of talented IT professionals, companies can reduce their technology costs by as much as 30 percent while improving productivity.
Outsourcing technology services like custom software development or product design can quickly fill skill gaps and provide cutting-edge resources to accelerate project delivery. Partnering with an external agency also provides your business with tech experts that are deeply entrenched in the innovations happening in your industry.
In addition to outsourcing, CIOs should also harness the talent they have internally. Developing diverse career paths and promoting a culture of learning will help your team keep up with the rapidly changing landscape of technology.
Modern CIOs are not only leading technology—they’re also leading their businesses toward innovation and profitability. Learn more about how CIOs can use IT to increase revenue by downloading our ebook, Tech as a Revenue Driver: From Operational Support to Customer Centric Tools.