by Michael Friedenberg

New Executive Skill Sets Emerge in CIO 100 Award Winners

Jul 30, 20142 mins
CIOCIO 100IT Leadership

IDG CEO Michael Friedenberg spots a trio of skills that signal greater business success for IT: marketing, market knowledge and communication.

Congratulations to this year’s CIO 100 Award winners and to our six newest members of the CIO Hall of Fame. This who’s who list of innovative companies and highly accomplished IT leaders casts a brilliant spotlight on the best aspects of business transformation.

Our CIO 100 winners range from some of the best-known brands in America (including FedEx, GE, The New York Times and Procter & Gamble) to lesser-known but equally deserving innovators at places like Georgetown University, Molina Healthcare, the Atlanta Public Schools and the Malaysia Ministry of Education.

Our CIO Hall of Fame, established in 1997, grows this year to 73 members as we celebrate the success of six extraordinary CIOs from AT&T, Kroger, AES Corp., Matson Navigation, Progressive Insurance and Western Union.

Taken together as IT organizations and individuals, this Class of 2014 demonstrates the vitality of the connection between IT innovation and business value delivery. What I also see demonstrated in these award winners is the ascendancy of a new executive skill set in three areas: marketing, market knowledge and communications.

Those core attributes have been cited as the major differences between great CEOs and great CIOs, according to global executive search firm Egon Zehnder. But that was then. This is now:

Marketing: The ability to articulate how IT is not only contributing to but accelerating the business. The past was all about IT delivering on time and on budget. The present is about delivering great user experience, solid business value and high adoption rates.

Market knowledge: Who is your real customer? The days when IT organizations couldn’t answer that question are gone. Our CIO 100 winners and Hall of Famers are deeply engaged with customers, leveraging technology and market understanding to deliver measurable value. They stand beside their business colleagues, not behind them.

Communications: “Speak the language of business” may be one of the oldest pieces of CIO advice ever given, but today’s IT leaders do more than talk the talk. They translate their grasp of business essentials into technology deliverables. They sit in board rooms and contribute fresh ideas to drive revenue. They walk the walk.

Our Class of 2014 deserves a virtual round of applause. Well done!

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