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Meet the new CIO – technologist and strategist

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By Allan Burdekin, Director of Industry Development


Today’s successful CIOs live in two worlds: the fast-moving world of IT and the demanding world of the C-suite.


In fact, they thrive in both worlds. Leading CIOs have a deep understanding of both technology and business strategy. They are the go-to people who can bring the two worlds together for their organisations. They’re guiding their businesses through the changing customer expectations caused by social and mobile technologies, through the challenges of big data, and into a future of more radical change as technologies like the Internet of Things take hold.


At the recent Executive Symposium stream of Cisco Live 2015, attendees heard from a number of speakers on why today’s CIO needs to be both a technologist and strategist.


Five key technology-driven business strategies


In particular, attendees heard about the following five key business trends that are driven by new technologies:


  1. Disrupters such as Uber and Airbnb are using new technologies to create new business models. “What all of these companies have done is change the customer experience through technology,” said Cisco’s Senior Vice President for Worldwide Field Operations, Chuck Robbins.
  2. Leading enterprises no longer care about the technology when buying IT – they care about the outcome. “They are saying, ‘Help me increase my strategic relevance inside this organisation. Help me help the marketing leader. Help me help the sales leader. Help me help my CEO’,” said Robbins.
  3. Data security is now so important that organisations are no longer going it alone – they’re using experts. “If you try and protect your own company alone, you will not be successful,” said Cisco’s Senior Vice President for Security and Trust John Stewart. “IT has become the lifeblood of how corporations work … Imagine a scenario where your data is corrupted in such a way that you don’t know if you have the right financial data in your system.
  4. Successful enterprises understand the importance of being agile and change ready. “Organisations that excel in change readiness have lower cost of implementation and speed to market, better delivery to their customers, and more consistently realise the full benefits of that change program,” said Optus Business Managing Director John Paitaridis.
  5. Leading CIOs are highly focused on answering key questions: “Does it make sense for you to own all of the assets? How are you using big data to gain valued insights into improving customer experience and infrastructure utilisation?”


The most successful CIOs will have already answered and acted on these questions, but it’s not too late to start now. For more details on these trends and strategies, see the full opinion paper Two Worlds of a CIO .

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