Atticus Tysen initially framed his challenges in technical terms.\n\u201cI thought we had a technical problem, and that was why we couldn\u2019t get new products out fast enough. I thought the company had too many systems, and that the systems were too brittle, and if we just fixed them, we\u2019d be OK,\u201d he says.\n[ Learn from your peers: Check out our State of the CIO 2018 report on the challenges and concerns of CIOs today. | Find out the 7 skills of successful digital leaders and the secrets of highly innovative CIOs. | Get weekly insights by signing up for our CIO Leader newsletter. ]\nThat was back in 2013, when he became CIO at Intuit after 12 years working on the product side at the software company.\nTysen, however, quickly realized that the most impactful CIOs today don\u2019t view operational excellence as the top measure of success. Instead, they see that as the starting point and quickly move beyond it to leading transformational change.\n\u201cWe had to move to thinking about the value we provide: Is something I\u2019m doing going to open up a new market or reduce the number of phone calls I get about billing? We still have to manage operational metrics, but frankly no one else cares about those. You have to focus on business outcomes and business metrics,\u201d he says.\nMany IT leaders are facing the same realization that Tysen reached: that the CIO position needs to evolve as organizations transition into digital enterprises.\nManagement experts, researchers and CIOs themselves in multiple studies and in interviews say that becoming a transformational CIO is a challenging journey that requires a combination of new skills and tactics that are layered onto \u2014 but not displacing \u2014 all the ones needed in the past when the top priority was operational excellence.\nThey acknowledge, too, that most CIOs are still on that path, moving first from operational leader to enabler and then to this next step: the transformational leader.\n\u201cCIOs must be operational, but they also need to be forward-thinking and they have to be thinking about how to generate revenue,\u201d says Anna Frazzetto, chief digital technology officer and president of technology solutions at Harvey Nash, a global recruitment consultancy and IT outsourcing service provider.\nFrom navigational to transformational\nFrazzetto says her firm has moved from calling on CIOs to be \u201cnavigational\u201d leaders who guide C-suite colleagues through changing technologies to now labeling them as transformational.\nIndeed, Harvey Nash and KPMG titled its 20th annual CIO Survey in 2018 \u201cThe Transformational CIO.\u201d The survey of 3,958 CIOs worldwide found that the top priorities listed by CIOs reflect their expanding responsibilities. The top six priorities (out of the 19 listed) are:\n\nImproving business processes\nDelivering consistent and stable IT performance to the business\nIncreasing operational efficiencies\nSaving costs\nEnhancing the customer experience\nDeveloping innovative new products and services\n\nTelling, however, is how these priorities have changed over the past five years, with improving business processes and developing innovative new products and services each increasing 2 percent over 2013, and enhancing the customer experience making its debut on the list this year.\nOn the other hand, traditional CIO priorities are not getting the same focus. Saving costs \u2014 the No. 1 priority in 2013 listed by 71 percent of respondents \u2014 is now a top priority for only 55 percent of CIOs. Delivering consistent and stable IT performance has seen a similar decline, from 70 percent in 2013 to 62 percent this year. Increasing operational efficiencies also dropped, from 68 percent to 62 percent.\nThe study results show the wide range of expectations that CIOs must meet today, Frazzetto says. \u201cCIOs need to manage and play an active role in being able to drive the organizational forward. They have to be nimble and responsive. They can\u2019t be all process-oriented,\u201d she adds.\nA new type of CIO\nThe shift to a stronger focus on transformation requires a new type of CIO, one focused on the organization\u2019s customers, its revenue stream, its growth, its market and its future, experts say.\nDeloitte\u2019s 2018 global CIO survey, \u201cManifesting legacy: Looking beyond the digital era,\u201d found that the top priorities for its 1,437 respondents were transforming enterprise business operations and driving top-line growth and revenue.\nThat takes a CIO who understands value creation, top-line growth and disrupting markets, says Kristi Lamar, managing director and the experience leader for the U.S. CIO Program at Deloitte Consulting.\nDeloitte sees CIOs as having four distinct faces today:\n\nThe operator, who delivers efficient IT services\nThe technologist, who assesses technologies and designs technical architectures\nThe strategist, who partners with the business to align business and IT strategies\nThe catalyst, who initiates innovation through transformational change\n\nLamar says transformational CIOs have their deputies focus on operator and technologist tasks, leaving themselves to focus on being a strategist and catalyst.\nPainting a compelling vision of the future\nTysen has seen that in his own evolution. Yes, he says, CIOs still need to execute flawlessly but they need to understand that\u2019s a given. As he says, \u201cThe end customer doesn\u2019t care whether their interaction is on a legacy system or a modern system, it just has to be seamless.\u201d\nAs CIO, he says his primary focus is on how enterprise IT serves the company\u2019s customers, a mindset he developed while working on Intuit\u2019s product team and carried into the IT department. He requires IT team members to observe their business-side colleagues, such as call center workers, as they interact with the company\u2019s customers so they can better understand those touchpoints and where they can improve.\nTysen says he does this because the line between what IT, product and customer service enables is blurring as enterprises become digital companies. He points to one of Intuit\u2019s offerings as a case in point: Intuit customers who need help with their taxes can now interact with tax professionals via video conference. Tysen says it\u2019s hard to distinguish where the product team\u2019s and his own IT staff\u2019s contributions to this capability begin and end.\nCIOs also must be able to communicate their visions for the future based on why it matters to the company and the company\u2019s customers, Tysen says.\n\u201cThe typical story of a tech presenter is spewing out facts. But you have to start with what the future looks like, what\u2019s the change you are trying to create, what are you going after, what\u2019s the outcome and then talk about how will you get there,\u201d he explains. \u201cYou need to paint a compelling picture of what the future can be. That\u2019s the role of today\u2019s CIO.\u201d\nTraditional vs. transformational CIOs\nTim M. Crawford, CIO and strategic advisor for advisory and holding company AVOA, sees several characteristics dividing transformational CIOs from traditional ones.\nHe says transformational CIOs have positive and engaging relationships with all their C-suite colleagues, including the CEO. \u201cThey almost look like the right-hand person to the CEO,\u201d he adds.\n\n\n\n\nRelated video: CIO Leadership Live with Bask Iyer, CIO at VMware | CIO Leadership Live series\n\nThey see the company\u2019s customers as IT\u2019s customers. \u201cThey know what the customer looks like and what the customer journey is, and they think about how technology can make this customer journey better,\u201d Crawford says, noting that transformational CIOs even meet directly with customers to get a better line of sight into the touchpoints they have with their organization.\nTom MacMillan, CIO of EmblemHealth, one of the country\u2019s largest nonprofit health insurance and wellness organizations, believes transformational CIOs need to look \u201ctoward the future, 2020 and beyond, and at what shift from legacy practices to digitalization is required to make the business operating model successful in the future.\u201d\nHe adds: \u201cHistorically the CIO role was about bringing systems to human problems and looking at operating scale and efficiencies. Scale and efficiency today can be bought, for lack of a better term, through cloud, AI and robotics. But transformational CIOs are looking at different ways to enable operating model changes using those technologies.\u201d\nMacMillan says he works with his C-suite peers to articulate what outcomes the organization wants in the future and to devise how they\u2019re going to use technology to get there. He talks about being an \u201cenabling coach\u201d and creating capabilities that the business can control and change as their markets evolve and their needs shift.\n\u201cInstead of the business being a user, and because we\u2019re moving to cloud-based platforms like Salesforce as a service, we look for our business units to develop competencies to be nimble. So they\u2019re engaged in ownership of the products they use, and that tends to let us move more quickly to release new functions or have better conversations with the vendor because we\u2019re all around the table to talk about the business goals,\u201d he explains.\nAs a result of this shift, CIOs and their IT departments need to bring a different mindset to the table, McMillan says. \u201cThere was this whole notion that IT was a service that was provided to everyone else. They have to be service-oriented, but they have to measure their actions in value, not in \u2018Did I meet my commitments to the business?\u2019 but \u2018Did we create the value we wanted for the business?\u2019\u201d he adds.\nMacMillan says adaptability and flexibility are key traits for today\u2019s CIOs, as they need the ability to pivot quickly in response to shifting objectives and technologies that emerge with ever-increasing speed.\n\u201cTechnology turns over every two to three years now, so you have to be willing to divest yourself of prior beliefs,\u201d he says. \u201cIt\u2019s really about being open-minded to a host of different technologies and a host of different solution options. The folks that tend to get married to any one of a few ways of getting a task accomplished will stall out on being transformation.\u201d\nSimilarly, Frazzetto says transformational CIOs need to become comfortable with diffusing control of some IT throughout the organization \u2014 the most modern incarnation of \u201cshadow IT.\u201d\nThey have to move past project mode, recognizing that transformation is now a constant and the work is never done, Frazzetto continues. They have to have a higher degree of financial acumen, understanding not just CapEx vs. OpEx or profit and loss but also revenue creation. And they have to be more compassionate, understanding and engaged than was required in the past \u2014 even extraverted.\n\u201cThey need to be able to relate to people, and they have to want to listen to what people say,\u201d she adds.\nTransformational title\nMarty Boos, the CIO of ticket-exchange site StubHub, says he, too, has found that the top IT job requires different skills today as the position has added transformation tasks to its operational responsibilities.\nHe says he still must \u201cmake sure our systems are 100 percent available\u201d so that customers can list, find, sell and buy tickets. But he has the equally, if not more, important task of leveraging technologies that allow for greater speed and innovations, such as developing capabilities to take new forms of payment in weeks \u2014 not months.\nTo do this, he has upped his level of collaboration by meeting more regularly with peers (including daily check-ins with the head of product and product owners) to get better visibility into workflow as well as potential obstacles.\nHe similarly supports more cross-domain coordination within his own IT team.\nHe says he focuses on being a leader to his own team, ensuring they have the needed training to work with new technologies and in new methodologies and still bring their institutional knowledge to bear. And he\u2019s investing in new technologies, such as Pivotal Cloud Foundry, to add flexibility to the IT stack by enabling his team to develop and deploy using the same tools regardless of what cloud would host the finished applications.\nCIOs also need to embrace that flexibility if they want to lead transformation, Boos says, adding: \u201cWe\u2019re in a realm where we\u2019re in continuous change so don\u2019t be afraid of continuous change.\u201d\nAt the same time, though, they need to be realistic about how fast transformation takes. CIOs experienced in transformation, management experts and researchers say IT leaders need to temper enthusiasm for change with patience and reasonable expectations \u2014 both for themselves and their organizations.\n\u201cThere is a small percentage of CIOs who have really earned the title of being transformational,\u201d Lamar says. \u201cBut for most CIOs, it\u2019s going to take time before they get there. We\u2019re at the very beginning stages.\u201d\n\nMore on the CIO role today:\n\n Wanted: CIOs to master digital strategy at the vanguard of change \n How CIOs can last longer than 4.3 years \n The case against the 'business-minded CIO' \n7 skills of successful digital leaders \n6 secrets of revenue-generating CIOs \n 9 lies CIOs tell themselves \n 6 hard truths CIOs must learn to accept \n CIO resumes: 6 best practices and 4 strong examples \n New CIO? Your transition playbook in 10 (not-so-easy) steps \n How successful IT leaders take charge from day one \n CIO succession planning in the digital age \n CIO playbook: 10 tips for leading IT in the digital era \n How CIOs transform IT for the digital era \n From CIO to CEO: 8 tips for taking your career to the top \n State of the CIO, 2018: IT-business alignment (finally) gets real \n 7 reasons CIOs quit (or lose their jobs) \n 8 CIO archetypes: What kind of IT leader are you?