As a CIO or IT Leader, You must understand the activities associated with business processes across the entire value chain, their interrelationships with complementary processes, and the associated information touchpoints If you are a CIO who wants a seat at the executive table.

Regardless of the path, the CIO needs to understand the company’s business strategy, competitive market, and industry trends.
How CIOs gain business knowledge, depending on their background and path to their current role

CIOs need to understand the needs of the business if they are to truly leverage technology in innovative ways. – James Schinski

CIOs should ask below questions to understand the Business to be successful in the CIO role.

  • Why is understanding the business important to the success of the CIO?
  • How will knowledge of enterprise business processes help the CIOs more effectively with C-suite executives?
  • What are the different ways CIOs learn about the business?

A four-step process for CIOs acquiring knowledge about the company and the new industry:

  1. Meet with business unit executives and key staff to understand how they conducted business as well as identify the IT services provided by the IT organization.
  2. Dedicate time, on a regular basis, for self-learning through literature and industry journal subscriptions.
  3. Learn about the industry from subject matter experts.
  4. Understand the rules used in the IT systems that support the business processes.

This lesson is about the absolute necessity for CIOs to understand the business environment. This includes

  • The value the company provides its customers
  • How the value is created
  • Working knowledge of the day-to-day key business processes used by company personnel
  • Market environment
  • Competitive market and associated opportunities and challenges

Some Key Points

  1. A strategic CIO will not be successful without a well-based understanding of how the business operates.
  2. The depth of understanding includes knowledge of the key processes across the entire value enterprise.
  3. CIOs move into the role from the business, within IT, from other companies, in similar or dissimilar industries.
  4. CIOs learn about the business in different ways, depending on experience.
  5. CIOs and an IT director shared their experiences in learning about the business
  6. Future business leaders need to learn about business and different operating cultures early in their careers.
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