In many Chief Information Officer (CIO) organizations, there is a perception by customers that CIO capabilities can be very limited. In these types of environments, information technology (IT) is viewed more as a cost than a strategic investment. In these cases, customers may only work with the CIO organization for network issues or email problems. To the customer, the CIO may meet their expectations in dealing with an issue but falls short in providing continuous strategic value. However, the modern CIO can take a lead role in changing that limited perception, moving the organization toward fully leveraging IT to provide real strategic value to the enterprise.
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The skills and competencies that served the CIO well in the past are likely to be necessary but insufficient for success going forward. The higher education CIO role promises to see perhaps its most dynamic period of change since its origins nearly four decades ago. The position is evolving from a focus on technology leadership to a focus on institutional innovation. With these charges, the CIO cannot afford simply to respond to requests but must proactively work to capture opportunities that drive the institution’s success.
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The IT industry as we know it today has been in existence for about 50 years and like the technology, changes and evolves constantly. In the past those employed in IT have not necessarily been seen as professionals and have been regarded mainly as providers of technical solutions. The business case for changing this perception is strong and in 2005 BCS initiated a Professionalism in IT programme with cross industry participation.
Further information about the programme is available at www.bcs.org/professionalism. The reality is that IT (Information and Technology) doesn’t just support business it powers business and the success of the industry is being be measured by impact on business and successful business outcomes. Critical to this success is the part played by those in senior IT leadership positions.
Research sponsored by BCS and NCC was carried out in 2006/07 to identify the specific, distinctive competencies exhibited by those who are considered successful in these senior roles. The objective was to establish the competencies and capabilities of the most successful Chief Information Officers (CIOs), and others in senior positions.
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