CIO – the most exciting role or the most difficult?

By Beth Cooper, January 24, 2017

A quick search of the internet throws up an array of commentary on the challenges faced by today’s CIOs. It would be easy to read some of these and decide that the role is now too wide and too demanding. The pace of change continues to accelerate. Last year’s issues are dwarfed by this year’s priorities. The distant future is already here. Plates are spinning, objectives changing and all the while global competition demands that budgets are constrained while investment continues.

Who, in this chaotic digital ecosystem, would be a CIO? Who wants the hassle and the interference from all levels of the business? Who’s prepared to carry the can when there’s a breach of cyber security but remain an innovator with the voice and vision to convince the board? Who can communicate at the grass roots and keep a head in the evolving digital cloud?

Being a CIO isn’t easy, but we believe that for the right individual it’s a role that can be the very best. It offers the chance of diverse responsibilities and a genuine opportunity to shape a business. Few roles can be as influential and in the current climate, few roles can be anywhere near as exciting.

Problems, problems …

We’re not downplaying the problems – every challenge thrown up by the commentators is genuine. There is a skills shortage in IT, but it is up to us to manage that by encouraging people into the profession, by developing their soft skills as well as their digital ones, and by recognising that the millennial workforce has different expectations, modes and methods.

There is a problem with security. The nature of the world is such that there probably always will be. But just because some hackers treat breaking down barriers as a game, doesn’t mean organisations can be anything less than deadly serious with their data-security policies. And as anyone who’s ever played a video game knows, getting serious and tackling every conceivable threat, can be enormous fun.

Yes, some organisations can struggle to align their IT strategy with their wider corporate goals. Yes, there are issues with proliferating data – analytics that are valuable but unused, and yes, there are things that any CIO could be doing but cannot because of opposition from wider management and reluctance to change, but no problem is insurmountable with the right support, effort, application and will.

A new year, a new viewpoint

Is being a CIO difficult or exciting? Surely the difference between one and the other is one of perspective? One person’s difficulty is another’s fascinating conundrum. While we’re thinking about targets for 2017, making plans and resolutions, perhaps the struggling CIO needs to resolve to learn to love the challenge again.

Talk to us about the challenges you’re facing in 2017. Call us on +44 (0) 8455 202080.