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How the CIO role is evolving

Of the many coveted C-suite business roles, there is perhaps none more dynamic and susceptible to change than that of the Chief Information Officer. It's easy to see why - tasked with handling and managing an organization's entire information technology ecosystem, these business leaders are required to constantly be on the pulse of new developments.

Change is the only constant in business technology - and this does not only apply to the revolutionary new trends, devices and processes that are constantly being introduced. In line with a rapidly shifting corporate IT scene, the nature of the CIO's position is also shifting.

CIOs across the world have seen their jobs morph significantly over the past few years as new tasks and new responsibilities have been added. As such, there are several pressing questions CIOs should ask themselves to ensure they - and their organizations - are prepared for the future.

Are you collaborating with the rest of the C-suite?

Gone are the days of the CIO working mostly in isolation, working with other C-suite executives on a limited basis. Relationships across the C-suite have been strengthening for some time now, and collaboration between these individuals will likely only become even more important - with the CIO playing a leading role.

Technology is revolutionizing how every facet of business is run, both internally and from a customer-facing point of view. CIOs will therefore need to ensure they are actively helping other areas of the business use technology in the best possible manner, and the only way to do this will be by collaborating productively with other C-suite executives.

The importance of the CIO working closely with the Chief Marketing Officer, for example, is highlighted by the way traditional marketing is being reshaped by what Gartner calls the Nexus of Forces - the confluence of social, mobile, cloud and information. With trends such as big data opening up new ways of tapping into the customer base, CIOs can play a helping role in harnessing the technology, creating new sources of competitive advantage and adding business value.

Are you prepared to innovate and take risk?

They say there is no 'I' in team, but there certainly is one in 'CIO' - and even here, the role is not limited to the management of information. The CIO needs to act as the source and leader of organization-wide, technology-driven business transformation, or as Daniel Burrus stated it in a recent blog post for the Harvard Business Review, the Chief Information Officer now needs to also be the Chief Innovation Officer.

The most forward-thinking CIOs today understand the importance of innovating and being at the forefront of increasingly competitive markets. A fear of the unknown is one of the greatest hindrances to business development - so make sure you are comfortable in your newly defined CIO role and can lead your business to future success.

Image credit: under CC BY-SA 2.0