6 Reasons Why CIOs Must Set Their Sights on Becoming a Board Member

The growing customer expectations and digital disruptions are forcing organizations to make necessary changes and futuristic organizations are already doing it to take advantage of opportunities that come their way. CIOs are expected to manage IT operations, which includes everything from managing best dedicated servers effectively to driving strategic initiatives to success. 

They are responsible for bridging the IT skill gap, aligning culture with strategy, preparing their organization for emerging technologies and challenges that these technologies could bring and oversee digital transformation efforts. They must set clear priorities, collaborate with the HR department to design processes that foster cultural change, work closely with data scientists and researchers to develop feasibility reports, and integrate new technologies. 

They should look to hire the right people and train them and adopt practices that could help them achieve the organization objective. For all these initiatives, they require support from board members and representation in the board otherwise, they would struggle to fulfill their responsibilities properly.

Paul Chapman, CIO at Box said, “At Box, we like to say that it’s not about rewriting your software, it’s about rewriting your company. The CIO is elevated out of the back office and into the C-suite because all eyes are on them to help the company think through its digital transition. It’s a great time to be a CIO because of that.” 

In this article, you will learn about six reasons why CIOs should strive for becoming a board member.

  1. Competitive Advantage

Gone are the days when IT was considered a facilitator to other departments and processes in an organization. Today, IT has become an integral part of any organization and an important business function. This has forced a structural change not in the tech industry but in overall society. When the need of society evolves, businesses must adapt to stay relevant.

Previously, most businesses tend to invest in IT to support current business processes. Things have changed drastically since then. Today, businesses are investing in IT to gain a competitive advantage. The best way to use IT investment to gain a competitive advantage is to take advantage of new business processes which stems from IT led innovation.

  1. Innovation

IT based businesses are leading the way when it comes to innovation. Intel has recently announced that they have got $656 million in business value by using predictive analytics in sales, supply chain, manufacturing, factories and in global operations. By adopting a machine learning platform, they have managed to make a 39 weeks improvement in bringing their products to market.

Despite amazing results, non-IT based businesses would still be confused whether they should embrace new technology and innovative products to increase their business efficiency, reduce the operational costs and help them quickly deliver products to the market. Even if they do realize the benefits of innovation, not having the CIO as a board member could lead to missing out on such opportunities.

Anil Cheriyan, former CIO of SunTrust Banks, “A culture of innovation is primarily about leadership, a growth mindset, and the desire to fundamentally change. We used to say on our team that we wanted builders and not maintainers — not that maintenance was a bad thing. We wanted people who were fundamentally unhappy with the status quo; you need that desire to change embedded in your DNA.”

  1. Digital Transformation

George Westerman, at MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy said, “When digital transformation is done right, it is like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly but when done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar.” Digital transformation is not about technology, it is about revolutionizing the value chain in response to changes made in society.

Efficient project management methodologies are reducing defects and minimizing the costs while shortening the product cycle, helping businesses bring products faster to market without spending more money. By using the right tools, your business can speed up digital transformation.

  1. Skill Transfer

When you become the CIO, you are literally at the top of the food chain and others in your organization can take advantage of your knowledge and experience. This allows CIOs to explain complex in a simple and easy to understand manner. Instead of reinventing the wheel, you can save a lot of money by transferring some of your skills. Prepare and nurture a team of individuals that can take your vision forward.

With the IT landscape changing rapidly, it is important for your team members to upgrade their skills so they can cope up with emerging challenges. Whether it is IT service management processes, project management approaches, a good CIO knows the importance of continuous business process assessment and improvements.

  1. Digital Security

The growing number of successful cybersecurity attacks and data breaches is an indicator that cyber attackers are one step ahead of cybersecurity professionals. That is why it is even more important to integrate IT expertise possessed by CIOs into the board so they can take steps to protect business digital asset data.

Moreover, they are the best people for the job and have the strategic perspective which helps them combat threats in a much better way than others. Whether you want to protect customer data, keep financial transactions safe or protect business against cyberattack which threaten the existence of your business, having a CIO on the board really helps as he or she will align these activities with your business strategy.

  1. Cloud Economy

There is a lot of hype surrounding cloud computing. This hype can force businesses to jump on the cloud computing bandwagon without really considering the underlying economic model. The economic model is described in a whitepaper from Siemens. Here is how it works.

Customers can lease the cloud computing services temporarily and then return them. The costs incurred in purchasing IT services shift from capital-intensive outlays to money-saving variable costs.”

As businesses move to the cloud, they will have to deal with lower variable cost instead of large capital expenditure. CIOs should play their role and should take responsibility and give top leadership visibility into their cloud agenda. This will make it easy for them to convince higher management about funding their cloud initiatives.

Do your CIOs have their say in the board? Let us know in the comments section below.

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