The ‘ride-along’: The transformational CIO’s secret weapon

Learning how employees operate is a critical task for CIOs, for whom the ‘ride-along’ has become essential in serving customers and generating revenue.

The ‘ride along’: The transformational CIO’s secret weapon
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Executive consultants have plenty of advice about what CIOs must do during their first 100 days of taking on a new role. Meet the team, assess talent, and grab quick wins, highlight the necessary tasks.

But many CIOs do something just as critical though rarely talked about: the “ride-along.” A CIO undertakes this practice to learn how company employees at various levels do their jobs. The ride-along takes many forms, depending on the type of business. Sometimes it literally means riding with field-service technicians as they complete work calls. Other times it means sitting in a call center, observing how customer service associates field inquiries — or fielding the calls themselves.

CIOs have been getting in the field to learn about their business for years. But CIOs are placing a premium on the ride-along today because they have an increasingly outsize role building digital products that help win, serve and retain customers and, ideally, generate revenue, according to IDG's 2019 State of the CIO report. And that means getting closer to how employees operate in serving customers.

RingCentral CIO Trevor Schulze says it best: “The modern CIO must go beyond efficiency, focusing on top-line growth, revenue generation, customer enablement and employee productivity.”

Here CIOs share with CIO.com their ride-along experiences, along with tips to make the most of a new role.

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