2012 CIO Peer Forum: CIOs Must Drive Business Value

A panel discussion at the 2012 CIO Peer Forum revealed that today’s CIOs must move beyond managing an organization’s day-to-day technology.

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CIOs sharing ideas

For CIOs to bring value to their organizations, they need to act more like business owners and less like order takers.

This was a key message at the 2012 CIO Peer Forum. The theme for this year’s conference was Be the Business: Meeting the Future Head-On and explored why CIOs must transcend their traditional job description to succeed.

A panel session called Alignment or Alliance? Becoming the Business, Rather Than Serving It provided insights on how CIOs can adopt a more entrepreneurial attitude.

“The ‘Information’ in the CIO title is more important than ever before,” says Shane Schick, editor, IT World Canada. “CIOs who are judged by things like systems performance and uptime will not be seen as strategic. However, there is a strong role for someone who understands how information works and can create a strategy to help the business reach its highest potential.”

Here are three tips from the panelists on how CIOs can tap into their entrepreneurial side:

  • Reduce your potential for failure

Although CIOs should act like entrepreneurs and drive innovation, many feel that their organizations do not afford them the opportunity to take risks that may fail. This causes them to turn away from any initiative that may put the organization or their careers at risk.

Renah Persofsky, CEO, Strajectory, stresses the importance of reducing risk. “A good CIO will figure out all of the risks and how to mitigate them in advance. If they do this, they will be recognized and accepted.”  

  • Bring your CEO good offers

Creating change starts with developing ideas that will appeal to your CEO and drive business. Whether these ideas come from your team members or from you directly, don’t be shy about approaching your CEO with new offers.

“As a CEO, the first thing I want is the offer. Come to me with solutions before I ask you to provide them,” says Persofsky.  

  • Don’t take the word ‘no’ personally

Entrepreneurs hear the word ‘no’ all the time. However, eventually they hear a ‘yes’ that will change their business. The rejections don’t necessarily mean that your idea is bad – you might just be talking to the wrong person.

“There were many times when I thought I had a great idea that would move the company forward,” says Kyle Reid, CEO, Broker Focus Digital. “However, I was talking to the wrong person. I had to find the forward-thinking people if I wanted to move things forward to other executives.”

The CIO Peer Forum is the annual conference of the CIO Association of Canada and allows Canadian CIOs to network, learn from each other and bring new ideas back to their organizations.

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