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Why your business needs a ‘modern’ CIO

What does a “CIO 2.0” look like? An industry inside provides the lowdown.

© Digital Journal
© Digital Journal

Technology continues to drive innovation and is increasingly at the epicenter of successful businesses. Furthermore, the pace of business is increasing and there is a growing adoption of the binary thinking that a business is either innovating or dying.

This situation requires the Chief Information Officer (CIO) to adapt. While a form of adaptation might well be accepted, what does this mean? To gain an insight, Digital Journal caught up with Matt Mead, CTO at SPR, a tech modernization firm.

Within the last 5 years, 84 percent of CIOs say their roles have increased in importance and the most important skill being contributing to corporate strategy. Mead has been at the center of this CIO role evolution for the past few years and now, during a pandemic. Mead explains to Digital Journal that the CIO role shifted from “just keep things running” to having an equal seat in the boardroom and leading tech innovation-driven business strategy.

In terms of key examples in terms of how the CIO role has evolved, Mead assesses these as:  “Security, security, security: The single biggest risk to the businesses over the next decade will continue to be cybersecurity threats and the CIO will now entirely be at the wheel steering the organization.”

Mead gives the example of your business being like a vegetable that starts to rot the moment you pick it. However, “you can’t always see with your eyes that a vegetable is rotting in your fridge, for several days it looks healthy, until it quickly turns a corner and becomes obvious visually”, he explains.

In terms of the impact of the pandemic, this is evident in that as companies have grappled with quick moves to remote work and all its related IT issues, the CIO role shifted from what Mead defines as “just keep things running” to having an equal seat in the boardroom and leading tech innovation-driven business strategy.

Furthermore, Mead explains that simply because more companies are returning to the office now, this does not mean the rapid evolution of the CIO role will slow down any time soon.

Yet there are models that small and medium sized businesses can look up to, states Mead. He says Google is an example of a company that, although one of the first to tell people to work from home indefinitely, is now calling for people to return to the office.

The company believes it’s important to have a sense of community when solving hard problems. Even though there may not be visible “signs of rotting,” they believe they are “rotting” and need to get back to working in-person.

These are the types of reforms that Mead thinks other businesses should be taking stock of.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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