Digital Skills Academy
The Rise of the CIO

The Rise of the CIO

Chief information officer (CIO), chief digital information officer (CDIO) or information technology (IT) director, is a job title commonly given to the most senior executive in an enterprise responsible for the information technology and computer systems that support enterprise goals. Wikipedia

Have a clear strategy for your data strategy, how you capture it, and how you use it.

It’s becoming more and more important to know what data your company is accumulating, where it is stored, who owns it, and how it’s used. It is important to have someone good managing your IT and data, because many successful companies have emerged from data driven pivots. The CIO should be one of your key staff members as they can help inform and guide your wider policy decisions. It is a really important role, and one that you should aim to fill with careful consideration.

Your CIO should be able to measure how the business is performing, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

It’s important to know what your data really means. The number of logins alone is not an accurate measure of customer satisfaction. Better to know the proportion of successful transactions completed relative to the number of attempted transactions. Similarly, the overall number of new customers compared to the number of lost customers will give a better idea of the rate of customer churn (the percentage of lost customers) rather than merely the overall number of customers at year end.

Tolga Tavlas offers a useful digital checklist to help identify digital accessibility and engagement to assess the effectiveness (or not) of the service you are currently offering (p18).

He also emphasises the importance of looking at all the times a customer fails to achieve their goal. These ‘fails’ offer invaluable information about the various ways that your service has failed to provide the result your customer is trying to achieve. If you can successfully interpret this information you will often find unanticipated business opportunities.  

A good CIO will need to know about a lot of different tech areas

It is going to be a challenge to fill this role. Ideally perhaps, especially in a small company you want someone who has some experience of a wide range of tech topics. It would be great if they had a deep technical knowledge of all the technologies used by your company. However, it might be difficult to find such a tech everyman. The next best thing could well be someone who doesn’t know all of the answers, but who knows who to ask and / or where to look. This is probably also necessary as technology keeps evolving and changing on an increasingly rapid basis. You will need your CIO to keep informed and up to date with potential data based opportunities, and the threats too.

Look out for data science conferences, awards and gatherings to inspire and inform your own company’s policies.

The DatSci awards are a good example of an opportunity to learn what amazing data driven innovations are taking place in Ireland. These are Ireland’s inaugural awards for Data Science, with the aim to acknowledge the value contributed by Data Science to the success of businesses and organisations nationally. Events like these offer the potential for useful insights that can be applied to your own business too.

Are you going to be one of Ireland's top data scientists? https://t.co/TIBtaDmscJ pic.twitter.com/RfV1xoKLx2

— DatSci Awards (@DatSciAwards) 9 July 2016

Have a clear idea of what you need from your CIO

This is a role which can do a great deal to help the growth and development of your company. It is worth researching the best methods to store and manage your data, and what your key tech driven needs and goals are for the company. Then have a look at the experience of your potential CIO candidates and see how well these two lists match up. By the nature of the role your CIO may need to be a bit of a tech generalist, at the same time though, you will need them to be an expert in your company’s own particular technologies and tech challenges. Get this recruitment right and it could be the making of your company!