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2018 is the year to accelerate your career — Here’s how

Technology plays a key role in every business. It might not be immediately evident, but that’s the way it is. In fact, as per the annual CIO survey from Gartner, “95 percent of CIOs expect their jobs to change or be remixed due to digitalization.” From an IT perspective, this means that leaders have the opportunity to increase their influence throughout the different operations of an organization. With the rise of digital transformation, CIOs need to focus on the right place at the right time to take their careers to the next level. A smart executive can reap the benefits of these new opportunities and accelerate your career by following the advice given below:

Take advantage of increased stakeholder expectations

The current leadership environment in the IT industry has undergone a sea change over the past few decades. For starters, change has become a part and parcel of this sector.

Qualified tech professionals always seek new opportunities and do not hesitate to make the switch from a small company to a medium-sized business, finally becoming part of a prestigious blue-chip firm later in their career. However, the process is not as smooth as one might think, and the experts have to face regular challenges along the way, a lot of which lie beyond the scope of a regular IT personnel.

CIOs assuming the position right now have to contend with the challenges of rapidly evolving environment when it comes to business expectations and technology. What this means is that IT leaders need to learn how to work beyond the comfort zone of the tech environment.

The running theme throughout various positions and organizations is the need for digital transformation. With the ongoing evolution in the need for improved technology, so are the skills necessary to become a digital leader. That is why one can no longer assume that a present CIO can automatically fill increased transformation roles.

The survival of IT leaders is at stake, and they need to deal with the pressure. For example, it is seen that in the case of CIOs, most of them fail owing to the absence of stakeholder engagement. So, if you do not have a close working relationship with the CFO, CEO, and COO, you might not be able to accelerate your career in your present company — or any other company.

But all is not gloom and doom; a silver lining exists. CIOs who can rise to the challenge will embrace fresh opportunities all across the company. In fact, very soon the role of a typical CIO will come to encompass more than a single job.

Expand people’s knowledge about the relevance of technology

The industry continues to underestimate the significance of strong IT leadership. But the truth is, IT should be considered a top-tier section among organizations as it is capable of delivering value not just for the firm, but for its customers as well.

IT needs to be aligned with the structure of the company, and the employees need to realize the importance of technology. The extent of this alignment will depend greatly on the company as well. For example, tech-focused firms will not find it difficult to establish an association between business and IT. In the end, it is the responsibility of the CIO to ensure that each of its employees understands the potential power of technological innovation.

There will still be parts of the organization that view technology as indecipherable and complex. That is where the CIO must step in and educate individuals about why, despite its complexity, that technology matters, why this system is needed, why the system is designed this way, and so on. Once this becomes clear, the role of the CIO is a lot more appreciated.

Bind the organization together

The current IT leadership depends on certain factors. Data-focused roles, for example, have gained relevance during this period of digital transformation.

IT leaders need to help their companies make the transformation from a hierarchical setup to a more collaborative one. This means that data sharing needs to happen between every part of the company. And CIOs need to oversee this process by enabling data access via a complete, 360-degree view in real-time.

In the emerging structure of business management, the modern CIO must play a pivotal role in the support network. And with time, their digital leadership position will grow into one with enabling powers. For now, however, CIOs need to start picking up the pieces and assisting different organizational entities in working alongside one another.

So, they need to serve as the glue holding together the different branches of the company. Also, they need to display how the agile approach to business and technology offers large-scale benefits, when it comes to capabilities and methods.

Ensure non-IT personnel understand the ecosystem’s power

According to business experts, CIOs must spend a lot of time fostering engagements with peers in their line of business. But this is not the primary area of focus for cross-organizational collaborations. IT leaders are going to continue spending more time with their C-suite peers and in the future assume a role that is akin to that of a business leader.

Thus, it is important for CIOs to have a thorough understanding of how the business is run along with the scope of technological possibilities. When you figure out what makes your business tick, you can harness the full potential of technology later on. And once you balance both these aspects, success is within your grasp.

Moroever, the responsibility of adopting a balanced approach does not rest on the shoulders of the IT leaders alone. Non-IT leaders must also take a step forward and increase their awareness when it comes to the technical side. Even though line-of-business employees realize the power of big-name IT firms, they are not fully aware of the expanding technological ecosystem.

What these individuals need to do is go out and explore the possibilities. They should then consider how to implement these services and systems within their own business.

It figures that some of the fastest-developing firms are tech players like Google. These companies are run by people with technological prowess since they understand how best to unlock the full power of the services and systems and disrupt the existing business models.

Road to success

We are at the beginning of 2018, and companies still have a shot at altering the organizational structure to give more prominence to tech leaders. The efforts of the CIOs will matter in this respect, and pave the path to future success.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Benjamin Roussey

Benjamin Roussey is from Sacramento, CA. He has two master’s degrees and served four years in the US Navy. His bachelor’s degree is from CSUS (1999) where he was on a baseball pitching scholarship. He has an MBA in Global Management from the Univ. of Phoenix (2006). Currently he lives in the Phoenix area after living in Cabo San Lucas, MX for 3 years. He enjoys sports, movies, reading, and current events when he is not working online.

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