A long-time industry friend rang me the other week to say they were considering a new role.
It wasn’t a traditional CIO role of managing the end-to-end IT delivery team, but a strategic business role focused on transformation and business value.
These scenarios are occurring more frequently. I know of several organisations that have roles like this, and I like them.
I once held one very similar. Here’s how I approached it:
Foundational technologies are known and articulated in a service management document; there is a clear commitment to continue to evolve the services to avoid future legacy technology challenges.
Simplicity. There will be a temptation to potentially not align to organisational processes; avoid this, as it will create data fragmentation. Champion consistent, automated and common processes; these will enable your role to focus on the things that bring the most significant business value.
Expectations. Take the time to understand the board and your executive peer group's expectations of the intended outcomes of your role. Sometimes, you may need to define the specifics of the business initiatives to be driven, avoid the temptation of going alone and it’s essential to ensure there is genuine buy-in to their potential.
Communication is a priority. Provide regular updates detailing the activity underway, progress and outcomes. Support this message with details of how foundational technologies are evolving and the benefits of simplicity.
These "In-Business" CIO roles offer great potential to complement your technical skills with genuine business ones.
You will be a diplomat, occasionally walking a tightrope. However, focusing on the areas of greatest business value without the day-to-day distraction of commodity IT is enviable.