11 portraits of digital CIOs

The digital CIO as the top leadership role must have a strategic mindset, unique personality, interdisciplinary knowledge, and a clear idea of what needs to be done, while being creative enough to lead innovation, drive changes, and orchestrate digitalization effortlessly.

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In the world moving too fast with exponential growth of information and technology-driven disruptions, the CIO role is strategically important and must be reinvented all the time. What C-level executives really want now is a trusted partner that works both “on the business” and “in the business,” not just “for the business”; someone who knows what they want before they know themselves; someone who can contribute to top-line business growth. Thus, the digital portraits of modern CIOs are different from those of traditional CIOs who think and act as tactical IT managers only. The important thing is that a digital CIO, as a top leadership role today, must be dynamic and open to changes and have a clear idea of what needs to be done, yet be creative enough to lead digitalization effortlessly and not hold the company back. Here are 11 game-changing roles of digital CIOs.

1. A digital strategist

Traditional IT organizations are often perceived by the business as an isolated support function and cost center. The digital CIO must reinvent IT’s reputation as a strategic business partner. CIOs should become top business executives, not single-minded IT geeks. Strategic CIOs know how to change the dynamics of the enterprise by refining information and leveraging technology for strategic advantage. Thus, they would devote their time and energy to gain understanding of the business inside-and-out, as well as what emerging technology trends can add significant marketing value and accelerate business performance.

IT strategic planning is an integral part of the business strategy, IT needs to set the right priority, build up strong partnerships with business managers and vendors, under-promise and over-deliver, in order to truly make IT a trusted business partner.

Business will not only leverage IT as a tool for digital extensions but, more strategically, apply information and technology across their organization to attain enterprise-wide digital capabilities. It takes very concerted, structural and dedicated efforts with a strong desire on both business and IT side to ensure that the company as a seamless whole is superior to the parts.

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