According to a recent Deloitte survey, IT’s role is rapidly evolving and CEOs are proponents of that change as they increasingly look to CIOs as strategic business partners. Ninety-three percent of CEO respondents say technology is important in driving product and service innovation and ninety percent say technology is important for delivering top-line growth. It’s clear that IT is playing a critical role in achieving business outcomes, so what’s the next step in the CIO evolution?

Becoming a Change Champion

According to a CIO opinion piece, “The harsh reality is that technology executives who continue to ignore the need to transform themselves and their teams eventually become organizational casualties.” It’s important that the CIO participate in all conversations and take an active role in influencing decisions and driving technology initiatives that will help move the business forward. As the CIO article puts it, “It’s worth noting that this is the role CEOs expect of their CIOs. Forty percent of CEO respondents to the Deloitte survey named their tech leader as their top partner in business strategy—more than the CFO, CDO, COO or CMO combined.”

Driving Strategic Business Value

As the CIO piece puts it, “This year has been a perfect example of how valuable the CIO role is.” In the early days of the pandemic, many IT leaders led the charge and helped their companies embrace remote working and other measures. The CIOs who were most successful were those who’d already forged strong relationships with peers throughout the business and demonstrated their ability to bring tangible business value. This collaborative approach is key for any IT leader looking to distinguish him or herself in the eyes of the CEO.

Transforming Your IT Team

Of course, it’s also important that CIOs encourage their team to adopt this holistic view of the enterprise and bigger-picture thinking. This can be challenging, given that much of IT’s purview centers on supporting legacy environments. That’s why finding the right IT talent is a critical part of positioning the CIO role as a strategic partner.

Emphasizing Learning

According to the CIO article, “…transformation is a process that is never really ‘done.’” With every new technology comes new challenges, lessons, and even failures from which IT can learn and grow. Strategic CIOs must recognize this and also ensure that their teams are prepared for and excited by an environment of ongoing learning.

The 4 Cs of Change

Commitment, community, clarity, and communication, collectively known as the 4 Cs of Change, are integral to becoming an effective change agent. As the CIO piece puts it, “These elements are all interrelated, because change isn’t linear; it’s a dynamic process. And communication is at the center of this model because the other three require it.” IT leaders must understand these four components and ensure that communication remains a top priority as part of their evolution into strategic business partners.

For more on what CEOs want in their CIOs, check out the article in its entirety here.