From Tactical to Strategic: Understanding Industry is Key

In lingo-speak: talking in “business terms, not technology terms.”

Bond didn’t create a portal, he created a way for agents to write more business with the company in less time with less effort. If you say that to a businessperson, you’ll get their attention. Oh, and by the way, no one else in the industry is doing this … that’s innovation.

Beyond Table Stakes

As we move forward and IT becomes even more enabling, effective CIOs are going to be less and less IT focused.

The effective CIO in five years will be “[t]hat individual that can look at things from an IT standpoint and sometimes make hard decisions about things like outsourcing or whatever it may be. If you see where the company wants to go … and how you are going to fit into that situation so that … you can gauge the things you are investing in as to whether or not you are supporting that long-term vision.

“If you don’t have that long-term vision just like the rest of the business, you can eventually find yourself in that same situation where you’re just kind of taking more of a tactical approach to meeting the business’ needs. And not positioning yourself where you can provide that innovation and support things more proactively (instead of) waiting for things to happen to you.”

The problem for many CIOs today is they come from an IT background and don’t have the needed business skills and industry knowledge to fulfill this role; to sit at the intersection of technology and business and provide insights into how each can affect the other. But is the job in many companies today and will be the job at most companies inside of five-to-ten years.

“You need to be at that intersection to be able to marry business opportunity with technology capability,” concludes Bond. “Not that you can’t do it from purely from a management standpoint, I just think, in some cases, you’re going to loose … true innovation.

So, like other C-level executives who find themselves challenged to be more than they thought they could be, it is now up the CIO to step up. This is, after all, the job of all C-suite exec’s: to see the future and figure out how best to position the company to meet and benefit from it.