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Essential skills for modern CIOs

"The changing role goes through the IT department and into the rest of the business. The CIO’s role is now as much people development, as IT development."



IT ProStephen Pritchard30 August 2011

PA’s David Elton, IT specialist, is quoted in an article in IT Pro which explores the skills CIOs need to succeed. As the CIO’s role changes, businesses are putting less emphasis on pure technical skills, and more on general management, communications, leadership and the ability to manage suppliers.

Commenting on the likely background of potential CIOs, David Elton says: “There is an existing pool of CIOs that businesses draw from, with one of the key questions recruiters ask being ‘have you been a CIO’. But there are also people in finance, who have had their hands on IT, and managers from operations, who have been involved in IT-centric projects and like the discipline.

“But IT is becoming more commoditised, and more business-oriented in the way it is used. There is a reducing need for the leader of the IT function to be IT qualified. That’s not to say there is no need for deep technical skills within the IT organisation, but there is less of a need for the CIO to have an IT background."

He also expresses his view that, first and foremost, the CIO needs to be able to safeguard the organisation and maintain day-to-day operations. He says: “IT has found its way into almost every aspect of the business, so any CIO who does not have keeping everything running at the top of their agenda, is in the wrong job.”

He also cautions that CIOs have three core responsibilities: controlling costs and bringing costs down; helping the business to manage its risks and to increase its revenues; and to develop people and skills. “The changing role goes through the IT department and into the rest of the business,” he says. “The CIO’s role is now as much people development, as IT development.”

You can read the full article here.

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