Centering Around The CIO - Everything You Need To Get Up To Speed

1. The Roles & Responsibilities - What A CIO Should Know?


In a world where IT has become the backbone of the business, CIOs and their teams are the heroes driving transformation and innovation. The CIO plays a central role in determining how technology will be used to achieve corporate goals and increase profits. The CIOs are increasingly leading organizational transformation. This makes the CIO the multi-role fighter of the fleet.

Whether you’re a seasoned CIO embarking on a fresh challenge or a recently promoted executive in a new role, getting your first few months as a CIO right is important. Achieving success at the beginning of your leadership journey is challenging but essential.

What are the skills that every company needs in its CIO? How does an experienced CIO recruiter assess those skills during candidate interviews? For answers to those questions, read this section.

2. Initial journey of A CIO - Nine Steps For Wiring In Success


While people know that the role of the Chief Information Officer is integral to the company's success, so much of what a CIO does to keep the business running occurs behind the scenes or at a level that most employees and executives do not understand.

The early months of a CIO tenure is a crucial time to learn about a company's culture and critical issues, shape an agenda for change, build relations with peers and senior leaders, and make decisions on people, budgeting, and other matters that will provide a solid foundation for the future.

In this section, we dive into the nine essential steps critical to the starting phase or the 1st 100 days when a CIO joins an organization. By embarking on this journey, a CIO can harness the tools he will need to shape the organization to newer heights.

1. Start the first 100 days before your first day

Use the interview process to understand organizational dynamics and expectations.

Know and interact with the organizational hierarchy to develop the markings of an action plan.

2. Clarify and strengthen your mandate

Understand what is expected of you and how you will be measured, for example, with regard to new business capabilities, cost targets, automation levels, and projects to fix. Set clear expectations with the CEO and other stakeholders on the levers you must have control over. 

3. Build relationships with business unit executives and agree upon priorities

This is the phase to create an impression and make new alliances within the company.

Meet with business unit heads and key executives, such as client account managers and R&D leaders. Focus on the business imperatives that IT can enable or transform with regard to channels, customer relations, and products.

4. Understand the upside and downside

Understand the specific role of technology in the industry and how it creates value. Study the best and most admired users of technology in your industry. What do they do that your company does not?

5. Develop the plan

Create transparency on performance and health. Develop a fact base not only on IT performance—cost levels, service levels, headcount, and critical projects—but also on IT health concerning architecture, capabilities, culture, and delivery.

Understand your technical assets and benchmark them against best practices. Consider technological discontinuities, such as cloud computing, mobility, and social media, and study how to leverage them.

6. Build your team

Start with organizational design. Incumbent team members might be effective in their current roles but not in a new structure. 

Take some risks. Consider a range of options, for example, external hires and transfers from business roles. Promote unrecognized high performers.

7. Rally the IT organization

Establish trust early by communicating a vision for IT. Give people compelling reasons to support your cause. Develop a simple stump speech that everyone can understand. Set bold aspirations. Link business success to IT success.

8. Demonstrate leadership through visible results and actions

Find some quick wins. Killing off an ineffective sacred cow project can be an effective way to demonstrate leadership rapidly. Initiating outsourcing and offshoring deals can have the same effect.

Assess the project portfolio and the business benefits it delivers:
  • Which projects must be cancelled because of misalignment with business priorities, have no clear business case, or have made no visible progress in six months?

  • To deliver timely results, which projects must get extra resources because of a mismatch between requirements and resources? Which projects must be rescoped to meet a critical milestone for the business?

  • Respond thoughtfully to “blockers” in the organization. Change will surface these blockers, and your initial response will shape your perception.

9. Continue your personal journey

Invest in yourself. Recognize that a new role brings a need for new skills and behaviors. Set an agenda for personal development. Educate yourself in the business areas you need to improve. Draw on internal and external sources to learn the business fundamentals.

Click here to learn more details.

3. 3 Key Challenges For Successful Digital Leaders - What CEOs need From Today’s CIOs


Today, most organizations undergoing effective digital transformation expect their leaders to offer prowess in three areas:

  • Overseeing initiatives to help their organizations 

  • Improve business processes 

  • Staying competitive and enhancing customer experiences

However, this is not true with most digital leaders today. Then what is the reality?

A recent report by Capgemini and George Westerman of MIT found that while 39 percent of organizations today say they have the digital capabilities required, that level is the same as in 2012. The real eye-opener was that only 35 percent say they have the leadership capabilities needed to succeed at digital transformation — a decrease from 45 percent in 2012.

So, what is the secret of success to being an effective leader? Click here to unlock the three key challenges you need to overcome.

4. Digital Leadership In The Age Of Saas - What Every CIO Should Know


Historically, the CIO has been an enterprise’s senior information technology executive, responsible for ensuring all tech-related systems and devices operate efficiently and effectively. But then came the cloud, SaaS applications, and an ever-changing technology landscape, and the role of the CIO has evolved.

  • CIOs today need to be business leaders with technology expertise - a perfect blend of both - Why?

  • The CIO of 2020 must recognize that every company is now a technology company—and SaaS is fueling the technology train - How?

  • This massive increase in the number of applications has left CIOs in the dark about which applications are being used within the organization (as well as how they are being used and by whom). How will they determine how best to manage application costs, usage, and value?

To find out, read more by clicking here.

5. All About Saas Management - From Thought Leadership Ideas To 6 Mistakes Every CIO Must Avoid


After the pandemic, SaaS adoption and usage have grown tremendously. Since organizations went to the work-from-home model, their reliance on SaaS has increased multifold.

Traditional methods of keeping track of all SaaS applications and their purchases are a time-consuming, error-prone, and effortful task. Proper SaaS management helps discover, organize, and streamline SaaS applications across the organization. 

So, in times of turmoil, what are the few things about Saas management that a CIO should always know?

Click on this section to get industry insights and expert opinions from leading thought leaders and SaaS experts. Click here to learn about the mistakes a CIO should avoid.

6. Business-IT Alignment - How SaaS Can Help Maintain The Balance


Business-IT Alignment is a discipline that matches IT strategy with business strategy to maximize the value created by the enterprise.

An enterprise has achieved business-IT alignment when all its IT initiatives align with the requirements set by its business functions. Business-IT Alignment results in every penny spent on IT supporting a business objective. 

Even though standard literature implies that Business-IT Alignment concerns itself with strategy, the following is a more accurate definition of the term: Business-IT Alignment matches IT vision, mission, goals, objectives, and capability (strategy, process, organization, and infrastructure) with business vision, mission, goals, objectives, and capability (strategy, process, organization, and infrastructure).

Earlier, the IT department operated independently of other functional divisions and was regarded as a cost center. But as organizations began to shift to a digital-first mindset, IT departments are being considered strategic facilitators, impacting corporate strategy, security, investments, and overall business practices.

So, what are the best practices for a CIO? What are the pros and cons a CIO should be aware of? Click here to know more.

7. Retaining & Recruiting The Best IT Talent - A Must-Have Know-How For CIO’s


The present recruitment scenario has seen a transformation during and after the pandemic. The demand for IT talent is so high that employers cannot afford to simply sit back and wait for the right candidate to walk through the door. With rapid digital transformation becoming the norm for most IT companies, skill acquisition has become as crucial as skill retention. 

Many organizations are now competing for the best and the brightest- and the most significant challenge they all face is to retain their top talents.

Prospective employees are increasingly conducting detailed research on the companies they believe are suitable for them, just as the companies are conducting thorough research on their prospects.

However, the above scenario also presents a flip side. Because of the increase in demand for IT professionals, your most talented employees have realized that they are at the top of their game when it comes to landing a position. Given the duration, resources, and money that goes into recruiting, it makes sense to prioritize retaining your best employees.

Companies that increase employee retention rates have a competitive advantage in reaching their goals. Increased employee retention can also be a significant force behind hiring new employees. This implies that harnessing the right skills adds to the company's progress. So, there must be a balance - mindlessly adopting the ‘hire and fire’ method won’t work.

So, what are the most important aspects and trends a CIO must know? What kind of technological factors must be ‘factored’ in? Click here to learn more.

8. Implementing The Best IT Strategies - Technology & The Boardroom


Technology is a strategic imperative in every organization, regardless of industry, sector, or geography. Few companies are immune to the influence of technology-driven disruption, innovation, or value creation. Business strategy is now largely technology strategy, and high-performing CIOs are leading technology deployments and helping the businesses develop and implement technology-enabled business strategies. 

A 2017 Deloitte study found that high-performing S&P 500 companies were more likely (31 percent) to have a tech-savvy board director than other companies (17 percent). The study also found that less than 10 percent of S&P 500 companies had a technology subcommittee, and less than 5 percent had appointed technologists to newly opened board seats.

Over time, more boards seek to appoint directors with technology acumen—but open board seats are few and far between. There are many reasons, including board member age, tenure, and board refreshment. Among S&P 500 companies, the average age of an independent director is 63, and 44 percent of boards with a mandatory retirement age have set that age at 75 or older.

This is extremely vital in SaaS organizations where technology is the lingua franca of the business. So, what are some of the best technology practices a CIO should know? Click here to learn more.

9. Automation in IT - What CIOs should be aware of?


The world around us has changed in the last two years. Corporations have realized that building resilience in their operations isn’t just a matter of improving their margins but a matter of survival. And they’ve seen how digital transformation utilizing intelligent automation can be essential to business survival.

This shift in corporate mindset has made it easier for chief information officers (CIOs) to promote the business case for technology investments. It has had a significant impact on the role of the CIO with the IT team, moving from background technology developer and “fixer” to forefront strategic partner in running the business and ensuring survival.

Even so, the path to digital transformation has its challenges. Often, there needs to be a shift in how corporations operate and how their staff across an enterprise view and are prepared to embrace intelligent automation.

  • As organizations grow, user provisioning becomes even more critical. Many users can make it challenging to track who has access to what, who needs access and why, and whose access needs to be revoked. 

  • Is automation impacting employee turnover rates? With LinkedIn reporting the technology industry to have the most significant turnover of any industry, an average of 13.2%, what should tech leaders be prepared for? 

  • But what happens when things get more complicated beyond even that? How can IT departments begin to automate the processes that can’t be outlined in an equation? 

As a CIO, here’s what you should know

10. 9 Rules Of IT Leadership - The Old Vs The New


Today, IT leaders are helping business users pick the best of breed from an ever-growing catalog of tools and services while guiding the organization through its technology transformation. 

The increasing pace of change means enterprises no longer have the luxury to take months (or years) to roll out big, expensive IT projects; continuous delivery and constant iteration are the new laws of the land. Nor can organizations choose between innovation or security — they need both. That puts more pressure on CIOs to deliver new initiatives safely and competently. Click here to learn about the top 9 ways of IT leadership, as suggested by the CIO.

Today, IT leaders are helping business users pick the best of breed from an ever-growing catalog of tools and services while guiding the organization through its technology transformation. As enterprises become more dependent on data to drive decisions, tech leaders have more power and greater responsibility than ever.

Click here to learn more about the roles and responsibilities a CIO must undertake.

11. Plan, Program & Execute - 5 Ways How CIOs Can Become Better Business Partners


Technology plays an integral part in all areas of an organization. To improve technology outcomes, Information Technology (IT) departments must work strategically with each business unit to understand their objectives and the operational plan to achieve their goals. 

To help organizations thrive in the world of constant change, CIOs’ business strategy must shift from the singular role of service provider into an expanded position of a strategic business partner to the C-suite. Below are the five steps to take on your CIO business strategy journey.

1. Drive Change vs. Maintaining Status Quo

CIOs are traditionally expected to maintain the internal technology environment of an organization. This expectation emphasizes cost reduction and efficiency, and CIOs have historically excelled in this role. However, organizations demand more insight into results and revenue today, and technology is critical in providing this data. 

To align with the push to maximize revenue, CIOs must develop a robust strategic plan with an external focus, driving the business with result-producing changes wherever possible. This external focus requires IT to ask what value they bring to the customer. The CIO should understand the customer's pain points and offer better, faster, or more advanced options to reduce or resolve customer challenges.

2. Build Accountability Into Tech Innovation

Every year, organizations make significant investments in new technology. Deployment and management of these technologies put CIOs in a unique position to hold the rest of the C-suite accountable for the technology's return on investment (ROI). In this role, a CIO needs to understand what each technology investment should achieve and take the initiative to follow up on results.

By ensuring the organization invests in results-driven technology, not only is the CIO eliminating waste, but they are also (and much more importantly) identifying where the organization can improve. By coming alongside other leaders to capitalize on technology spend ROI and cultivate transparency in the C-suite, the CIO's business strategy is critical in helping the organization leverage its resources.

3. Train Departments With a Focus on Results

The CIO’s team has a unique 360-degree perspective of technology and how it fits into the broader technology ecosystem. With this expertise and insight, the IT team trains end users on the technical capabilities of a hardware or software solution. 

However, more inclusive training incorporates a business focus; it teaches not only the technical aspects of a tool but also how the tool will improve the productivity of the end user. The end user should know what to anticipate as their proficiency grows – whether that is increased speed, enhanced reporting, or better customer service.

4. Develop IT Employees to Align With Business Objectives

It is not enough for only the CIO to understand the strategic business side of the organization. To successfully align with all business units, all IT employees must thoroughly understand business concepts, vocabulary, and tactics. 

CIOs can enable their teams by implementing periodic training on the business basics. IT employees should understand the business model, value propositions, and sales cycles. 

5. Be Agile

In a business environment that is rapidly changing, opportunities must be acted on immediately to capture a competitive advantage. In the past decade, the most successful organizations could scale with ease. An adaptable organization hinges on the CIO’s ability to implement agile IT management and swiftly equip an organization to pursue opportunities.

These are just a few of the ways of managing IT assets. To know more, read this latest article by Zluri.

12. Strategic Planning That Works for Functional Leaders - How CIO’s Can Draw up an Action Plan


Implementing a strategy often takes too long and costs more than expected. Turn enterprise strategy into functional initiatives with a concise plan you can easily communicate to stakeholders.

Keep the following objectives in mind:

  • Translate enterprise ambitions into a strategic plan your function can use.

  • Focus on specific key initiatives and actions for your function.

  • Create a simple one-page view that’s both easy to follow and communicate.

Technology and business operations are becoming more and more intertwined. The job of CIOs and IT leaders is no longer limited to IT operations. Now, they are the strategic minds behind the seamless business operations during the transition from a traditional working culture to a hybrid working model.  So, before devising an effective business strategy, here are a few things to remember.

13. 7 Tips To Keep Your IT Budget In Control - What You Should Know About


This can be a plebian task for many organizations as the budget determines the leaps and strides a company can make. Therefore, careful planning and execution are crucial to this stage.

  • A well-laid-out IT budget is crucial for your IT department as it provides a roadmap to project operations.

  • Management can easily see where the money is going and what resources are available. This eliminates the need to justify or request any IT expenses later on. 

  • Take the road to foolproof IT Budget planning with some tips and tricks. 

Zluri recommends the following seven steps:

  • Review Previous Budgets

  • Address the Spendings Precisely

  • Take Inventory of Your IT Equipment

  • Understanding the Recurring Expenses 

  • Engage Employees and Managers From Different Departments

  • Segregate Between Run, Grow, and Transform Budget Items

  • Commence Vendor Research Early 

To know more on how to implement these steps, click here.

14. Building Better Relationships - How CIOs can be an effective team player


For any CIO or IT leader, the work relationships you take the time to cultivate can have a make-or-break effect on your career. If an IT leader doesn't build trust and establish open lines of communication, the best-laid plans can quickly go awry. We asked CIOs what the most important relationship in their current role is and how they work to maintain it.

Building solid and positive relationships has always been necessary for any executive. The Chief Information Officer (CIO) is the same. As CIOs move from a traditional mindset to a transformational CIO, the importance of critical relationships comes into focus. There are many relationships that the CIO must develop and nurture over time. 

Even a less than 50-employee startup still needs help managing its SaaS applications. Think about an enterprise that has more than 3,000 employees. They need a structured SaaS management plan; otherwise, they will get into the trap of SaaS sprawl.

So, what is the key to successfully maintaining these relationships while maintaining best management practices? To know more, click here.

15. Empowering Organisational Change Through The Cloud - How You Can Be The Change You Want To Be?


CIOs face a tough challenge in 2022 as they balance the need for technology investment and growth amid a growing call for fiscal prudence in uncertain economic conditions.

Meanwhile, recent market shifts are sharpening companies' focus on the bottom line and delivering practical value rather than just growing the customer base.

The introduction to McKinsey’s ITaaS Cloud survey states, “The cloud debate is over – businesses are now moving a material portion of IT workloads to cloud environments. The impact will be considerable for consumers and vendors of technology alike.” 

With the migration towards SaaS, the practices used to manage on-prem software are now redefined to manage SaaS but are sufficient in the remote workspace. As opposed to on-prem software, SaaS comes with its challenges. Three of the biggest challenges with SaaS applications are that:

  • There is no visibility on the total number of SaaS resources the organization has,

  • How the users utilize SaaS applications, and 

  • What happens to data in the cloud. This poses security and compliance risks.

A holistic approach towards SaaS management should cover threat analysis and compliance risks. Further, the right course will act as a guide to help you derive insights on user and department-wise usage of every SaaS app and also help you effectively use your IT budget. 

So, what are the other kinds of approaches CIOs can take to an effective SaaS management solution? Click here to know more.

Go from SaaS chaos to SaaS governance with Zluri