Previously, we discussed the roles and responsibilities of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) and how the role differs from that of an IT Director. Simply put, a CIO develops long-term IT strategies that enable a company to harness technology’s profit-increasing benefits, while an IT Director focuses on maintaining servers, implementing cloud solutions, and managing other day-to-day technology concerns.
Keeping IT systems running optimally is certainly beneficial to any business, but having a CIO develop your organization’s IT strategy can help fuel business growth in ways you may not be aware of.
Introduce innovative technology
CIOs should not only be knowledgeable about the various software solutions available on the market, but they should be able to demonstrate how certain IT systems, hardware, or software can boost productivity and profitability.
CIOs are both technology specialist and business executive, so it’s imperative that they’re able to explain why, for instance, legacy phone systems or outdated computer software are detrimental to company growth. Moreover, a CIO should be able to argue why it’s necessary to implement new technologies to stay competitive.
Anticipate IT needs
A fast-growing company needs technology that can keep pace with its changing requirements. Business leaders, however, may be overwhelmed by their duty to manage business functions and implement new technology, which is where a CIO steps in.
In-house IT staff may be able to recommend short-term solutions to common issues, but it’s the CIO’s job to oversee that technology solutions are strategically implemented. That means liaising with vendors, choosing the most suitable systems, determining what needs to be prioritized, exploring other solutions, and informing business stakeholders of possible risks and complexities.
For example, a CIO wouldn’t just recommend any SaaS (software as a service) solution without ascertaining that it’s compatible with the company’s current systems or without accounting for staff training and other factors. In other words, a CIO’s technology expertise should go hand in hand with an extensive knowledge of a business’s operations, which will allow him to identify problem areas where technology solutions are needed.
Integrate processes and technology
CIOs can also be tasked to enhance processes and make technology more efficient -- an area in which business executives without an IT background may find challenging. They may be relied on to provide sustainable solutions for issues like inefficient collaboration, crashing systems, and unsecured networks, which all negatively affect profitability.
CIOs will not just search for the optimal software tools for these problems, they will also take an active role in getting them implemented and ensuring they’re integrated with other technology systems, to avoid incompatibility, usability, and other unforeseen issues.
Make better technology investment decisions
When a company executive believes spending on a particular technology is unnecessary, it’s the CIO’s job to convince him otherwise. For instance, a finance director might be reluctant to adopt marketing automation software because they're afraid it will be too time-consuming or too costly. It then falls on the CIO to explain why automation can save time and money in the long-run.
However, CIOs aren’t just there to suggest new technologies to purchase; they’re supposed to make strategic IT decisions that aim to improve business processes. A recent study found that 80% of businesses that adopted a digital transformation strategy experienced increased profits and a more engaged staff. And with the keen insights of a CIO, making such IT investment decisions will be much easier.
Businesses aiming for operational efficiency, market competitiveness, and steady growth will benefit from the technological expertise and business savvy of a CIO. The good news is that your business doesn’t need to hire one in-house. Dyrand offers CIO-level expertise that can help organizations in Vancouver, Richmond, and Burnaby develop and refine IT strategies that will yield long-term benefits. Interested? Just give us a call.