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Why Unlocking Your Optimal Skill Set as a CIO is Critical


Author: Adrian Velez, HP Enterprise Group – Content Strategist


Ten, and even five, years ago the CIO’s job was very specific: Keep the IT infrastructure up and running. However, according to a new research report from HP, today’s leading CIOs are the ones who are embracing change and transitioning to the new style of IT.


Top CIOs, according to the study, know that today’s IT department isn’t necessarily the one they will be leading in five years. In fact, 22 percent of IT leaders say the IT function needs to be completely different.1 IT will have a different strategy, infrastructure, budget, organizational structure and skill set, and it’s not just the IT people in the field who will need to learn new skills, according to Enterprise 20/20 CIO 20/20


CIOs will need to change the way they are doing their jobs, too. "CIOs must not only work at the strategy level, but also understand and relate to the details,” notes Charles Bess, Chief Technologist and HP Fellow. “They must understand and preserve that which is optimally efficient, yet also muster the courage to find what could work better. ... No other position in the modern enterprise requires the executive to excel in so many capacities.”


Why is this so important? In order to make sure the business and IT are working together, IT must have an active role in not only the innovation agenda but also the overall business strategy.


Getting Schooled


How does the CIO get the knowledge to make this happen and, according to Enterprise 20/20 CIO 20/20, “become a business engineer who is pivotal to the strategic growth of the enterprise” moving from infrastructure builder to power broker? It starts with taking a the seat at the table, and learning the business skills that can help the CIO make good decisions and help push strategy along.


This may mean that the CIO will need to go back to school or at least commit to learning something new every day. While some CIOs may think they need to go get an MBA, this isn’t always the case. There are programs available that can help IT leaders acquire business skills such as basic business finance, the company’s operating model and budgeting. In addition, a recent story2SUP.png points out that soft skills are an important part of becoming a successful IT leader. “…soft skills, like communication, empathy, teamwork and negotiation are almost more important than technical skills, especially in leadership or executive roles,” explains the story, which details how these skills can drive engagement, employee retention and buy-in and support for key IT projects.


The HP study backs this up. Leading companies, according to the study, agree that change is needed across multiple areas in the business in order to generate real business outcomes. They also agree that their use of systems and infrastructure is a differentiator today. To that end, To be successful CIOs intuitively understand that the need to be constantly looking at new technologies, even if they don’t think they will be implementing them now or in the immediate future.


Nearly three-quarters (72%) of IT and business leaders believe that they are fully leveraging new technologies1. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are following every new buzz word or trend. Instead, they are committed to providing the necessary technology tools so that the business can innovate. And when people skills, technology and business skills come together then – and only then – can a CIO truly succeed.


IT leaders are endlessly seeking out new ways to use new technology to solve business problems. They are most likely to declare that differentiating their IT infrastructure is synonymous with making their company more competitive. The HP 2015 Report: Profiling infrastructure leaders provides insights on what sets these digital leaders apart from their lagging peers. If you want to differentiate your business through the use of IT – read the report to see how HP can help you improve your customer’s experience and in the process exceed your own expectations. 


Bookmark HP Infrastructure Insights to get the latest updates on HP and the New Style of IT.



[1]HP Research, 2015 Report: Profiling Infrastructure Leaders, February 2015

[2]SUP.pngSharon Florentine, Why Soft Skills are Key to a Successful IT Career, (Feb. 2, 2015)



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Jamey Titone
Good article for you to read.
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