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For Companies to Win, the CIO Must Partner with other Chief Executives

Posted by Henry Cheang | March 4, 2015 7:00 AM

Evolving business IT usage  means constant changes in how departments interact with each other. As seen previously, Chief Information Officers (CIOs ) are adopting (or at least exploring) BYOD, cloud computing and Big Data (among other trends) to meet business needs.  

However, when thinking about technology, we have the misconception that the CIO is the only person responsible for managing it all. That used to be true, but not anymore...

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The times are changing

According to a recent Gartner survey, CIOs are finding that they have to improve communication with other leaders in their organizations because IT itself is becoming increasingly necessary to business strategies. In the survey, the top 3 reasons for CIOs to seek stronger relationships with other business units were:

  1. To gain a clearer understanding of business strategies and priorities (21%);
  2. To identify initiatives and projects to focus on (19%);
  3. To build more collaborative relationships with business executives (17%);

Put another way, CIOs identified collaboration, communication, and alignment with other C-Level executives as key elements to helping their company succeed. On a practical level, this means that fostering a culture of transparency would be necessary. But what exactly is the role of each executive towards helping the CIO with telecommunications’ management? Let’s take a look.

Unique knowledge that each member of the C-Suite can share with CIOs

Chief Financial Officers (CFOs)

At the core, the primary role of finance executives is to find the most strategic ways to choose the most profitable projects, cut costs, and generate revenues. Telecommunications services factor into this analysis because they optimize business processes (can you imagine doing business without telecom? I can’t!)

That’s why telecom has to remain a top priority for chief executives in 2015. The CFO can help the CIO by helping him:

  • Establish the agenda for cost cutting;
  • Set corporate standards and drive accountability for expenses;
  • Formulate rules for recognition of savings and reporting. 

Have you noticed that these are all strategic actions? And because it’s the CFO and CIO working together, it’s a strategic partnership – in-company. By offering expertise in terms of finance, the CFO helps the CIO better stretch the IT budget. On a broader level, CFO-CIO collaborations increase overall ROI for the company because their joint actions encourage accountability.

Chief Technology Officers (CTOs), Chief Digital Officers (CDOs) and Chief Security Officers (CSOs)

All of those executives have roles complementary to that of the CIO. That’s why their collaboration with the CIO improves the IT department’s functioning as a whole.

Whereas the CIO manages how technology is deployed and supported in-company, the CTO should take the lead on finding new, more efficient technology tools that improve organizational functioning. By working closely with this executive, the CIO makes sure that the company uses the most effective technology tools of the day.

The CDO can help the CIO by analyzing the data that emerges from all technology use to provide the CIO with meaningful suggestions for improving business IT processes.  

Last (but DEFINITELY NOT LEAST), the CSO has a big role to play in helping the CIO secure the company (from a technology perspective). With all the security risks in business IT (e.g., see more details about BYOD concerns here), the CSO should be investigating the best ways to secure all the data stored in those new communications tools. He should also be keeping the CIO up-to-date on security risks – in real-time. That way, the CIO can affect necessary safeguards as they arise.

Chief Procurement Officer (CPO)

The CPO is part of the sourcing team and his main role is to negotiate contracts with telecom (and other) providers. This executive’s work is vital to getting the best possible prices from vendors. Because the CIO has to manage and buy so much technology, he should share his strategic vision with the CPO, so that the latter can plan his pricing and negotiating strategy accordingly.

So what does it mean for the CIO?

The CIO is the key leader of the IT department, which is the central hub of technology in an organization. By partnering up with all the other influential leaders of the different business units, the CIO will deliver the most value-added IT services to help grow the business. Moral of the story: keep communicating between departments and avoid the formation of silos in order to encourage a sustainable future for your business!  

Better manage IT and telecom assets

At Cimpl, we’re Canada’s leader in IT and telecom expense management, and our years of experience have led us to find the most efficient ways to track your assets, control IT and telecom expenses, cut your inventory costs and secure BYOD! We have solutions to please all the members of the C-Suite, to learn how to work smarter with your mobility - one of the fastest growing segments of your IT fleet! 

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Related Articles:

Topics: Big Data, BYOD, Security, IT Assets, IT Expense Management, IT Budget

Written by Henry Cheang

Henry has a lifelong passion for science and technology. This enthusiasm is put to good use in a cutting-edge software company like Cimpl. As product marketer, Henry researches market and user needs to develop user and buyer personas, contributes to product design, and helps coordinate product messaging. Henry also writes nearly the entirety of all documentation for Cimpl’s many successful platforms. In his spare time, Henry devotes much energy to family, friends, and martial arts. Henry recently completed his Master’s in Business and Administration from Concordia University, where he specialized in the study of marketing, organizational behavior, and corporate governance. He has authored academic papers on the latter two subjects; these papers form part of his bibliography of over 20 professional research publications.

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