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4 steps to success for a new CIO

Diana Bersohn, managing director in Accenture Strategy | May 5, 2015
New CIOs must be ready to go live on Day 1, learning the company’s agenda and positioning themselves as architects of innovation, writes an Accenture Strategy’s managing director.

Additionally, business strategy, imperatives, value drivers, key customer considerations and technology expectations are factored into short-term plans, such as a cloud strategy, that can light the path for IT to lead and deliver quick wins. In so doing, the CIO and IT team can demonstrate that they are primed to support the organization and move swiftly.

3. Embrace the 'we economy'
As leading organizations adopt a "we economy" that taps into digital business, customers and networks to shape experiences and outcomes in new ways, CIOs would be well advised to do the same across the enterprise.

That means working collaboratively across departments, identifying tech-savvy executives in finance, marketing, sales or research & development, etc. to forge alliances with executives who they can work with to propel the company's digital transformation forward. To do so, they will need to show real business chops -- converse about the business and the vision for it.

The conversation also should move beyond optimizing costs and streamlining processes to drive innovation and top-line growth.  

And so, while CIOs are known for their IT prowess, they also need superb communication skills.   CIOs must listen astutely and convey complex digital concepts with the passion of a great orator to energize internal stakeholders and build support for their views, mobilize stakeholders, establish dialogues across the business and set and achieve stretch goals for how IT can support the business.

4. Rally the whole IT team to support their IT agenda
Within a couple of months, a new CIO should have a clear picture of their team's talent and where capability gaps exist. A successful CIO will act promptly and decisively to make changes, and recruit new talent and ideas sooner, not later. They will shape a team that, like them, is conversant in the business as well as technology.

Doing so may involve training, rewarding team members to take measured risks and experiment sensibly as they change the IT culture as well as investing in new career tracks. Creating the dream team also may require looking beyond their organization to create a network of talent.

However daunting as the challenges seem, new CIOs who rise to meet them and quickly learn the company's agenda, positioning themselves as architects of innovation, can make a significant and sustainable impact on their enterprise.   To do so, they will want to embrace the "we economy" and build a team of digital dynamos who can support them as they move along the path to success.


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