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What makes a good interim CIO

Chloe Dobinson | Feb. 20, 2017
Interim CIO Bjorn Ovar Johansson says the role should be a strategic problem solver in IT and someone who should always deliver

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The role of an interim CIO remains established in a IT, digital and technology executive space with the market buoyant for non-permanent leaders. 

Indeed, experienced IT executives and are often hired on an interim basis to help transition and deliver change into organisations, over a short period of time.

Since 2012, Bjorn Ovar Johansson who has performed interim CIO roles at Pandora and Proffice, spoke to CIO UK about what makes a good interim CIO and the skills required to make an impact in their brief executive role.

"It is not easy when working as an interim CIO because most roles require 100% focus and often significant travel," Johansson said. "During my last assignment, I worked 60-70 hour weeks and travelled extensively to both the US and the Far East."

However, as the role are often short contracts finding a balance between work and life is a must for interims while also keeping a visible CIO profile.

Johansson has performed across international organisations adapting his CV and skills set to each interim CIO role.

"It is important to focus on concrete, measureable outcomes for each job or assignment and to adapt the role for each specific opportunity - for example, Financial Service roles if the job is meant for a banking client," he said.

While skills remain important in an interim CIO role, keeping an active profile through network groups is vital for finding new job opportunities and offer advice to fellow Chief Information Officers.

"Both physical and virtual networking are important to build awareness and expand your contact base; I am part of several CIO groups including CIO UK and the CIO Forum," he said.

Since joining the network groups Johansson has found it can help prepare him for an interim CIO position.

"I try to speak with people in my network who work or have worked for the business," he said. "Trying to understand as much as possible about the company by browsing the client's websites and while also reading annual reports and press releases."

While research is vital, the CIO describes the most important question to ask during an interview is why they are hiring the role.

"Through being able to reiterate the business in a greater detail and why exactly they need my help to resolve any issues by getting that confirmed as early as possible during the interview," he said.

A basic knowledge of the organisation as Johansson describes will give an entry platform to relate to the business and the rest of the interview.

Johansson has leveraged his non-permanent positions with international organisations as a great opportunity to help businesses resolve strategic problems while also being able to work with new sectors, environments and cultures - making it a career choice and without having to wait for a permanent position.

Source: CIO UK

 

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