At Adobe Summit, I\u00a0participated in a panel discussion\u00a0with Accenture CIO Andrew Wilson and Intuit CIO Atticus Tysen, to discuss the evolving role of the CIO with enterprise digitization.\nIn addressing what it takes to be a successful CIO, insights spanned across three key areas: technical prowess, business acumen, customer centricity.\nTo me, this is the triumvirate for success. To excel as a CIO in this data-driven, experience-first landscape, you need to build upon your technical expertise, be closely aligned to the business, and put the customer front and center.\nIf you achieve this, you\u2019ll be able to guide your processes and decisions, orchestrate the right technology for business advantage, and create outstanding experiences for IT workers, your internal clients, and your end customers.\nKnow your technology and what comes next\nIdeally, CIOs should be guiding their internal partners toward the right technology \u2014 and that doesn\u2019t mean ditching your legacy technology all at once. Instead, it\u2019s a process of looking at what technology you have, evolving it, and breaking it apart into different micro-services that you need in order to be resilient.\n\nHere, Andrew said, \u201cWe, as CIOs, are experts in the businesses we serve. We actually have to understand more about the business than anyone so that we can insert the technology in clever, meaningful, sticky, secure, and scalable ways when it\u2019s ready.\u201d\n\nFor example, if you can\u2019t be cloud native right away, you can at least start with being cloud enabled. Then go through the journey to get your apps and services there and eventually you will be cloud native.\nThis can be a perplexing process but you\u2019d be surprised at what your teams can do given the space to learn from failure and the opportunity to experiment and create. I\u2019m always amazed at the brilliant and quick solutions people can come up with.\nLeverage critical business acumen\nAs a CIO, you also need to understand the business goals, outcomes, and vision of your organization, so you can put in the right data strategy and be a true partner to the business, said Atticus. He recommended getting a clean pipe of data to answer one question, then another, then another.\nThis is exactly the route we took when we\u00a0tested Adobe Experience Platform with our internal Creative Cloud Support Team. The team required up-to-the-minute access to key customer data housed across the organization \u2014 from\u00a0Adobe Experience Cloud, CRM, ERP, commerce, sales, product usage, and more.\nWith the right data brought together, support reps now can understand a customer\u2019s opportunity areas and where they might be facing challenges. But the benefits don\u2019t end there. The IT team that provides support for Creative Cloud solutions now has a single source of data that is fulfilling internal requests for many other uses across the organization \u2014 and it all started with one business need.\nFocus on customer centricity\nYou can\u2019t really know your customers unless you understand their journey \u2014 what it takes for them to interact with you. As CIO, it\u2019s essential to know when and where customers digitally interact with your brand.\nIf you take a step back and walk a mile in your customers\u2019 collective shoes, you can gain a level of empathy and understanding of what your customers are experiencing. IT needs to be a powerful advocate for the customer and provide technology that removes the friction in customer interactions. This will instantly elevate your customer experiences.\nWe\u2019re all getting more sophisticated with data, especially with subscription or SaaS models. Adobe has moved to the cloud and away from boxed software, for example, which enables us to better serve and understand customer needs. Now, we have real-time knowledge of who our customers are and can build relationships with them in different ways. But it\u2019s not just real-time data\u00a0for you, it\u2019s also real-time engagement for your customers, so you need to re-engineer your systems to support customers in an always-on environment.\nFor example, if you have a 24\/7 e-commerce site, you can\u2019t shut down your ERP system for eight hours on a Saturday due to maintenance needs. You have to actively work to shield your customers from these disruptions and ensure their experiences are always live and always positive.\nOrchestrate success\nUltimately, that invisibility of IT is part of the positive customer experience \u2014 whether inside your organization or for your external customers. Andrew notes that \u201cIT at work should feel like IT at home and IT in the rest of the world.\u201d If that happens, you can be assured you\u2019re doing a great job! You\u2019re the orchestrator that enables the business with tools and technology so they can easily do what they need to do. Additional perspectives about IT leadership can be found here.