Business Skills Essential Ingredient to Success - Page 2

Dec 8, 2006

Allen Bernard

But if more is being demanded of you and IT then you have to understand the business you are in—not just your company but the business in relation to your competitors, who your customers are, the concerns of your business unit leaders, how your company differentiates itself in the market (if it does of course), etc., said Gingras. This would put IT and you into the "trusted supplier" category.

The third category that IT fits into at a given company is "core strategic." This the one that this article is about and the one many CIOs today are either trying to get to or are being forced by change to understand.

In this category the CIO's job is really about business, not technology. You can hire a CTO to cover that. In this category, you have be bilingual, speaking fluently the language of both business and technology terms. Here you are a member of the executive committee setting the direction for the business. Execution of installed technology (i.e., keeping the lights on), at this level, is just a given.

This is also the category with the most uneven terrain; especially if you are among the first to hold this position at your firm—don't be surprised if you are.

If you are in this position or on your way, Lemerise has a few suggestions to help you navigate these uncharted and often choppy waters:

  • Be a business partner first. Take technology out of the conversation.
  • Be strategic in your thinking but tactical in your actions. You have to see the future and relate where you are today compared to where you are going.
  • You have to have tremendous people/communication skills.
  • Be a mentor. Teach the rest of the company where and how IT can help them do their jobs better.
  • Be proactive keeping the company current when it comes to technology. Pay attention to the trades. Establish a peer network you trust to bounce ideas off of.
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