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The New Age CIO will Supersede the CEO

The New Age CIO will Supersede the CEO

“Nearly 66 percent of respondents believe that the CIO should be a potential candidate for succeeding the CEO - "which shows there are already noticeable cracks in the glass ceiling."

As per a recent Forbes Insights survey of 652 CIOs across the globe, 66% of CIOs indicated that they hope to grow beyond their current role. 59% expect to hold a seat on their company’s board of directors. 50% of CIOs also expect to head a profit center by 2025. The new generation of CIOs are breaking out of their technology silos and targeting the coveted CEO position. CIOs have become more ambitious as the pace of CIO-to-CEO appointments has increased in recent years.

I have highlighted the new concept of Business equals technology.” The concept is “as a CIO of an organization my job is not just providing information technology but delivering on business outcomes and customer satisfaction.”

My book “Fail Fast Learn Fast and Move On” launched middle of December 2023 covers in detail why the future CIO will be CEO. Now it is available on Amazon   and Flipkart

David Gledhill, CIO and group head of technology and operations for DBS Bank, a global bank based in Singapore recently highlighted the “Business equals technology” concept in a bigger global forum, this shows the mindset of CIOs in today’s world, and this applies to all of us not only David Gledhill or me.

The CIO-to-CEO career — once unthinkable or, at best, unlikely — is happening increasingly. In the last two years, the CIOs role has changed drastically. Their strategic focus now extends beyond IT functions. Wide-scale digital transformation has positioned technology as the center piece of companies’ revenue-generation strategies, both as the foundation for delivering and servicing products and as the primary touchpoint for customer engagement.

Today CIOs are not only responsible for technology implementation, they are playing multiple roles in every organization. I hope you all agree IT has evolved to become more business-centric and consumer-facing and all the CIOs are working very closely with the CEO for desired output.

The New Age Technology and Business Leaders, first growing organizations must “Fail Fast” to survive and bring required transformations using Data Science, Analytics, and AI/ML, this delivers an urgent message to all the business leaders of today.

Information Technology (IT) has evolved to become more business-centric and consumer-facing. As a result, the skills crucial for a competent CIO increasingly overlap with those necessary for an effective CEO.

Explore why the future CIO should be a potential candidate for succeeding the CEO:

The New Age technology has a huge impact on business transformations – its disruptive power, and Customer Experience (CX) is critical to converting your organization to profit-making.

Let me tell you how IT is moving from a Cost Center to a Profit Center. Earlier cost saving was the number-one driver of IT innovation, but things are changing very rapidly across industries, today’s CIOs are focusing more on revenue-generating opportunities, as technology is increasingly viewed as a key driver of business which creates an opportunity for CIOs to become CEOs. The impact of new-age data-driven technology on business transformation is significant, particularly in the shift of IT from a cost center to a profit center.

Indian Firm Angel Broking appointed Silicon Valley Techie Narayan Gangadhar as its new CEO on April 22 - 2021. Via Plus is a global mobility company in the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), announcing the appointment of Shreenivas Prabhakararao as CEO of the company’s India operations. He was a senior technology leader with over 20 years of international experience in the IT and financial services industries. Stephen Gillett who was CIO of Starbucks and is now CEO of Chronicle, and Philip Clarke was promoted from CIO to CEO of Tesco PLC. There are numerous examples, both in India and internationally, demonstrating that organizations are increasingly favouring individuals with a technology background for the CEO role.

For ambitious CIOs, the CEO job has never been more attainable. The game-changing technologies of social media, mobile apps, and big data analytics have transformed the CIO role from an inward-looking service provider to an outward-looking generator of market insights and critical customer data. In many organizations, CIOs are on the leading edge of innovation and business model development – giving them experiences that place them in prime positions for CEO positions.

But while CIOs and CTOs are moving into the CEO role at an increasing pace, barriers to promotion remain, most prominently:

  1. Many technology executives have little or no P&L experience and a lack of exposure to revenue-producing functions.
  2. Insufficient leadership experience: While CIOs and CTOs often participate in important cross-departmental initiatives, some have never led any of these efforts.
  3. Lack of success in forging strong relationships and developing leadership credibility among other C-suite executives and board members.

As a Modern CIO, how do I envision the changes in my company over the next five years?

“Over the next five years, chief information officers (CIOs) will lead their companies toward fundamentally new ways of doing business.”

The CIOs of 2025 will be much more heavily invested in business outcomes, with direct responsibility for generating revenue. They will work closely with other leaders to understand how business units make their money and where competitive pressures exist, using their expertise to build solutions specifically aimed at improving top-line results. They will also be rolling out fast-moving technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), and managing the immense cultural changes accompanying them.

Today’s CIOs already hold positions of significant responsibility, and in five years, 66% expect to be critical decision-makers for corporate strategy. Their influence will continue to rise as they evolve from technology implementers to architects of new business models, introducing ideas for business lines and directing changes that will transform enterprises. Innovation has emerged as a major driver of revenue growth in almost three out of five surveyed companies, and this trend is expected to continue upward.

A new global Forbes Insight Study reveals a significant shift in the focus of financial services CIOs. Nine in 10 CIOs now expect their roles to encompass revenue generation by next year. This push towards revenue growth is fueled by opportunities to leverage technology for deeper customer engagement. For example, banks can offer adjacent services like accounts-receivable management and cash-flow analyses to small or mid-sized businesses.

Furthermore, the vast amount of customer data held by financial institutions presents a goldmine for creating value-added services. Analytics can be used to transform this data into crucial new revenue streams and up-sell opportunities. In short, the CIOs surveyed believe their internal technical expertise can be a valuable asset in the market, both for directly serving customers and for partnering with other financial institutions undergoing digital transformations.

CIOs can further drive revenue generation and business growth by following these five steps:

  • Own the Data: Seize control and responsibility for managing information as a strategic asset.
  • Align IT for Business Impact: Ensure IT strategy is in sync with business objectives for maximum impact.
  • Value from IT initiatives: Demonstrate the clear return on investment for every IT project or initiative.
  • Lead the Charge: Step up as a leader, not just a contributor, by driving the transformation.
  • Spearhead Innovation: Take initiative to drive innovation and proactively shape the future of the business.

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