Skills of the New Global CIO

The changing world demands a new set of skills for the new global Chief Information Officer (CIO) to perform maximally. More than ever before, the world is dynamic in the development, circulation, and utilization of information. The increasing dynamism demands equally high energy in the search and adaptation of matching skills for the firm’s welfare. The rise of a new breed of knowledgeable and skilled CIOs is the genesis of better organizational performance both now and in the future. Research into the new global CIO’s orientation identifies the core skills that they need to master for excellence in their performance.

Identified as one of the main skills needed for effectiveness is adaptability. Adaptability refers to the ability to transform in response to the changing environment. The ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution presents a multiplicity of changes in the business’s digital and physical aspects (Narang, 2020).  It is characterized by cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT), amongst others.  The new advancements create a need for businesses to change the way they operate and adapt to the new digital era for them to retain their competitive edge amid global competition.

The flexibility of an organization and its CIO are essential ingredients for the current and future success of a business in the global arena. A CIO’s failure to adopt the new developments may spell doom for the business (La Paz, Laengle, & Cancino, 2010). Companies that operate in specific industries are already making significant advancements in the process of adapting, a process that is helping them remain ahead of the competition. Every other CIO needs to have the ability to guide their respective organizations towards the digital transformation, both to reap the benefits and avoid the consequences that may arise from failure to do so.

Project management is another essential skill of a CIO.  The CIO’s job description encompasses recommending and guiding the formulation and implementation of information processes that best fit the organization (Forbes Technology Council, 2020).  However, the new global businesses’ orientation has increased the scope of the job description of the CIO to the worldwide arena. This factor has created the need for active involvement in developing the information processes on which a firm relies.  This new addition in the job description of a global CIO demands the acquisition of the commensurate skills needed for success in managing the necessary projects. The ability to manage projects can enable the CIO to successfully guide numerous projects, such as developing information systems controls and others that contribute to the welfare of the business in the global arena.

A related set of skills to project management is leadership skills. A global CIO holds a senior position in the hierarchy of the organization. The position means that several other employees work under him/her (Laudon, & Laudon, 2018). Also, he/she heads several operations of the organization in matters related to the flow of information within and outside the firm.  For this reason, it is important to have the requisite leadership skills needed to make successful all the engagements in which he holds the mandate of heading. Project management, for example, demands the employment of several leadership skills. A good assortment of the necessary leadership skills empowers CIOs to make significant progress in achieving the goals of the projects they perform.

The ongoing globalization of activities calls for the development of advanced leadership skills. A CIO needs to possess the right skills that can enable him/her to lead their people with the necessary effectiveness. It is especially so in the scenario of long-distance communication (Portela et al., 2010). Some workers may be far from the leader, yet information processes must continue taking place with the right level of effectiveness and efficiency. A successful CIO can make the necessary adjustments to his leadership skills for him/her to ensure that the human resources involved in the global information and computer technology processes achieve the utmost success in all their engagements. Creating a strong culture in an international information technology team, for example, demands the employment of dedicated leadership skills. Through effective leadership skills, both the workers in the department and the organization achieve the set objectives in matters of information technology.

A deeper insight into the vital skills of a global CIO reveals the need for the ability to collaborate. The increasing collaboration of businesses in the 21st century demands collaboration between the teams working for either of the firms (Portela et al., 2010). The CIO is mainly involved since the exchange of information is a mainstream activity in such scenarios. Creating a good rapport between the teams is a crucial part of the process of integration. A CIO should have the collaborative ability to assist their team members in exchanging and learning from the other team. Through such collaborative efforts, the team of an organization can make secure the organization against the threats facing information security.

The skill of team development is part of the efforts of constructive collaboration that modern CIO should possess. The team’s success in the technology department depends on the appropriateness of the combination of the workforce (Portela et al., 2010). In the modern-day business environment, persons in the information and computer technology department are expected to perform complex tasks, owing to the fast changes in the technology sphere. For this reason, the combination of persons mandated with the duty to complete a certain task is important in determining the success of the team in delivering results of the right quality. A modern CIO should identify the weaknesses and strengths of the individuals working in the technology department. Similarly, he/she should be good at combining teams according to their skills and other important characteristics. It is by doing it right that he/she can form a team that can perform adequately in the global arena.

The ability to communicate effectively is an important skill of a CIO. Effective communication understandably entails passing information and being a good listener (La Paz, Laengle, & Cancino, 2010). The position of CIO is one that involves a lot of communication. Like other leaders in the organization, he/she is expected to pass information to a wide range of persons who are both within and under their position of hierarchy. The ability to pass instructions and receive feedback regarding various information systems without communication breakdown exemplifies effective communication. The CIO is mandated to ensure effective communication when the firm is dealing with other firms. The effectiveness of communication when dealing with other firms is important since it enables learning and understanding the needs of the relationship. The modern CIO is increasingly engaging persons from other firms, owing to the increased activities of outsourcing, offshoring, and other aspects of globalization (Portela et al., 2010). For this reason, it is recommendable for the CIO of every organization to be well-versed with how communication can be made effective for higher chances of success of the firm.

Emotional intelligence is one of the main soft skills needed for the success of a CIO. Unlike intelligence quotient, emotional intelligence gives a leader the ability to recognize and utilize emotions (La Paz, Laengle, & Cancino, 2010). Emotions, on the other hand, affect the performance of individuals. They are the avenues through which people channel their energy. The ability of a CIO to recognize his/her emotions as well as those of others is, for this reason, an important input that can contribute towards the success of the information technology team. People in the department need the CIO to have the skill of emotional intelligence for them to be successful in their engagements. The new global CIO is especially required to possess the skill, owing to a large number of people from diverse cultures with whom he/she interacts in the line of duty. People from diverse cultures need different treatment. The CIO needs to possess the ability to learn what each of them is communicating at all times for a better chance to relate well with them and make significant progress from the interactions. Emotional intelligence can help a global CIO successfully handle activities and teams by avoiding impulsive decisions and ensuring impactful leadership.

Another important skill is advanced security intelligence. The ability to handle information security at an advanced level is a basic necessity in the current age of global business activities (Laudon, & Laudon, 2018). Businesses are partnering with others to be more successful in handling their activities. They integrate their systems in manners that expose the firm to risks of unauthorized access. The continued integration of businesses with each other is raising the standards of expectations bestowed upon the CIO. It demands that the person be well-versed with information regarding the firm’s communication processes’ security. Being a successful CIO, for this reason, means being knowledgeable in matters of information security.

In another aspect, the risks that businesses are facing are increasing and becoming more complex. CIOs only had to perform a few security checks and install a limited number of security controls in the past. The threats included Trojans, viruses, hackers, and other common information security risks (Laudon, & Laudon, 2018). The evolving world of technology is, however, introducing new and more complex threats.  Issues such as cyberwarfare and cyberterrorism are gaining ground in the contemporary era and wreaking havoc for many businesses. CIOs are facing novel challenges that demand better, smarter, and more vigorous security features and activities. For this reason, it is paramount that a CIO should possess advanced security intelligence for him/her to handle the security threats with the necessary force.

Security intelligence also encompasses matters of risk aversion. The new global CIO should be well-versed with information, and the skillset needed to avert the risks that face information processes before they occur (Portela et al., 2010). He/she can only assist the firm enough if they can lead their teams effectively enough to detect the possible vulnerabilities that threaten the welfare of the information systems. In the contemporary world, internal threats are amongst the main risks against which the CIO should work. Software vulnerability and the threat of employees’ unauthorized action are among the main threats that the CIO should be skilled enough to prevent before they cause damages.

Digital literacy is a mandatory skill for the new global CIO. Technology is fast revolutionizing, thereby demanding the continued update of knowledge in the same. The technological revolution is bringing a wide assortment of new devices and changing the way people work. Among the most affected aspects of a business is communication. Businesses are shifting their focus from local to international communications. In this sense, developments like teleconferencing are increasingly gaining popularity as opposed to traditional physical meetings. The use of emails and other methods of communication that allow distant communication is equally gaining popularity. It means that the information technology department is gaining in importance and number of engagements.

The CIO is required to be knowledgeable in technological developments. Digital literacy means the willingness, ability, and commitment to continuous learning in matters within and related to the digital revolution domain (Forbes Technology Council, 2020). The skill of digital literacy also entails other aspects of gaining and maintaining knowledge, including being fast in grasping the new knowledge that is constantly arising. The need for speed in knowledge attainment is mainly necessitated by maintaining the business ahead of its competitors. A CIO who fast learns and adapts the impactful technologies enables the firm to gain a larger market share through better market scouting and better services. Also, the skill of digital literacy enables the CIO to learn and effectively implement new workplace orientations. The ongoing changes in the workplace courtesy of digital transformation are improving the workplace situation by easing work. Through their skill of digital literacy, it is upon the CIO to improve the workplace environment for the welfare of workers by recommending the adoption of better technologies. Digital literacy can enable a CIO to do so on a global scale.

The skillset of the new global CIO needs to include business acumen. An organization’s information and technology department is an integral part of the business processes that drive a firm towards fulfilling its duty to shareholders (Laudon, & Laudon, 2018). It contributes a lot to the business results, both in the local and global domains. For this reason, knowledge in all the significant business processes is a basic requirement for the new global CIO. Through the knowledge, he/she can direct the activities of the information technology department towards a course that contributes significantly to the profitability of the business. Ensuring the flow of information in coordinating business processes, for example, is one of the main ways in which the information technology department contributes to the business. The new global CIO needs the ability to gather other useful information from local international players and bring it on board for better goal achievement by the business.

In a similar aspect, the new global CIO needs to be profit-oriented. The modern CIO is obligated to guide the firm in the purchase of various items of technology. He/she is, for this reason, supposed to be knowledgeable about the various sources from which the organization can obtain items that are both economical and of the right quality (Portela et al., 2010). The CIO needs to think in a manner that matches the goal of cost reduction. The ability to help a business achieve this goal is, for this reason, an important aspect of a successful global CIO. Being business-minded is also important in that it contributes to the development of a positive culture. It helps in shaping the paradigms that exist amongst workers. A CIO can only be certified as one of the global levels if he/she can inspire some sense of business-like thinking patterns amongst other employees. Being business-minded in an area that is minimally business-oriented is one way of so doing. Such a business-like paradigm within the department’s culture demonstrates the CIO’s ability to maintain the health of the transactional systems.

The new global CIO needs to be strategic in his/her approaches. The successful CIO in the current status of the globe is one who is all-around. He/she needs to have operational and technical abilities (La Paz, Laengle, & Cancino, 2010). More importantly, he/she needs to be strategic in the way they approach matters in the information technology department and the organization as a whole. One of the main skills that can assist this specific course of action is handling complex problems with a positive attitude that is carefully crafted to ensure high chances of success.  The global arena presents complex problems that encompass a wide range of matters. Economic challenges, for example, present significant difficulties that demand careful treading. A decline in the economies of countries in which a firm operates, for example, is a challenge that needs to be addressed from an informed perspective. Its effects on the available information resources may be significant enough to attract the information technology department’s attention. The CIO needs to integrate his/her skills in information technology with the relevant business and managerial skills to develop viable strategies.

Creativity and innovation skills are also important skills that the new global CIO needs to possess. The information technology department is constantly in need of new ideas (La Paz, Laengle, & Cancino, 2010). Improvements like faster customer service, better user interface, and clearer communication devices are constantly in demand, owing to the changes in tastes and preferences amongst users both within and outside the organization.  The new global CIO is, for this reason, required to be creative and innovative to enable the information technology department to be more effective in completing its tasks and fulfilling its duties to the stakeholders that it serves.  The CIO is also required to be open to ideas and suggestions that arise from other persons. He/she can do better in service to the organization if they are willing to invest in the people who are working in the section of the business concerned with information and communication. Creativity and innovation and being open to ideas are, for this reason, within the skillset needed for a CIO to be effective at work.

The new global CIO requires a powerful combination of skills to be successful at work. The skills needed for success in steering the activities related to information and communication in the firm’s globalized setting include both soft and hard skills. They range from technical to strategic and business skills. The ability to combine and apply them as circumstances demand can empower a CIO towards success. A CIO has better chances of surviving and thriving in the current waves of globalization and digital revolution if he/she makes enough effort towards the acquisition and utilization of these and other essential skills.

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