CIO.com discusses how many CIOs find it exhilarating to take on business functions outside of IT. But CIO-plus roles require a new mindset and trusted deputies.
Excerpt from the article:
…This expansion of duties has its benefits and practical challenges. IT already is tied to every single part of a business. As a result, technology executives have a keen horizontal perspective of all of a company’s business processes. From that unique perch, they can more readily identify business stumbling blocks and innovate process improvements that increase business value.
“The CIO is one of the few people in an organization who sees all the processes from cradle to grave and truly has an expansive point of view. That lends itself to leading other parts of the organization,” says Peter High, president of CIO advisory firm Metis Strategy and author of the book Implementing World Class IT.
It’s also economically advantageous, especially for small and midsize companies. “Having people do two jobs and not paying them double seems like a good idea to a lot of organizations,” High says.
But at the same time, dual-role IT executives need to deeply immerse themselves in additional parts of the business where a whole new set of challenges lie in wait. Incumbent managers and staffers may resist the insertion of an outsider who didn’t grow up in that business function. CIO-plus executives also need to adapt their management and leadership styles to their broader, non-IT constituency.
Not all CIOs are up to these challenges. “Only an executive who is ambitious takes this on,” says High. “This is such a complex set of responsibilities. If they don’t have a desire for additional responsibilities, or haven’t been active enough to suggest that they could do it, it’s not likely that [expanded titles and duties] will be suggested to a passive CIO.”