Yesterday I attended a CIO Summit, put on by the Society for Information Management (SIM) in New York City. My attendance was prompted by the topic of IT leadership, which was covered in several breakout sessions and by the keynote speakers.
It was gratifying to hear senior technology executives say they recognize what they need to do to enable business growth and how to encourage technologists to take a more proactive role in business innovation.
The key themes I gathered are:
- “Successful IT executives focus on leadership, innovation and transformation strategies to keep their organizations relevant to the business.” (Hunter Muller of HMG Strategy)
- Most conversations today between business managers and technology managers involve business strategy, not technology.
- Making meaningful contribution to the business requires problem solving and communication skills, high emotional IQ and seeing outside yourself, which means looking beyond the technology and your previous definition of what technologists provided. (All these capabilities can be addressed via coaching.)
- Getting infrastructure right is no longer table stakes – your technology organization must successfully adopt new technologies and implement them quickly if you want to stay in the game and participate with the business.
- A deeper knowledge of direct and adjacent markets and customer needs is essential to help the business adapt to change.
Technology leadership has never been more difficult nor more interesting. For years technologists have wanted a seat at the business table — the opportunity is now there for the taking, as long as you know it’s not about technology, but rather about anticipating and satisfying business needs and meeting those with robust technology solutions.