The world of IT executives has changed dramatically in the last couple of decades, and will continue to change. CIOs used to supervise an IT department that ran a company’s servers, ordered computer equipment and reset employees’ forgotten passwords. Now, as technology becomes integral to every department from marketing to manufacturing, CIOs are becoming key participants in nearly every business decision. An effective IT executive needs to have a vision for the IT organization, and align it with the organization’s vision and mission. The IT executive must also understand the many old and emerging technologies, as well as have people skills to build coalitions and run the IT organization.
IT executives, like any other executive, should have action orientation. They must demonstrate the commitment, dedication and determination to succeed. They need to perceive upcoming challenges and take pre-emptive actions to turn them to organizational advantage. They are required to take initiatives, and drive new ideas and projects for organizational growth. They must manage investments, information and technology choices. They need to ensure that the IT infrastructure is cost-effective and also adequate for the needs of the organization. IT executives also need to recruit and people, with a variety of highly skilled and talented technical people.
Many IT executives become successful for taking career-making bets. Some IT executives in the 1990s bet on ERPs like SAP, rather than developing applications in-house. As the ERP movement grew rapidly, these executives were seen as visionaries, and were better placed to move to larger and better organizations. Many IT executives that managed the Y2K problem well also became well known; they bet their career on the outsourced resources from India. As Indian IT firms became more successful in delivering such projects, the IT executives stood out and were better placed for their future career. Similarly, those IT executives who developed e-business and e-commerce systems early on benefitted from the experience and once again, were better placed for future success. The best CIOs know how to leverage cutting-edge vendors for website development, social media platforms, transforming current systems to mobile-based systems, etc. Last but not the least, the Big Data and Predictive Analytics revolution threatens to upend the IT executive’s life and pace dramatically. Those that show the greatest success in harnessing the data-based decision-making paradigm, will be well-placed for the future.
In a rapidly transforming world where every advantage is fleeting, and digital business strategy threatens to supplant the usual business strategy, IT executives will need a special edge to innovate continuously and energize the organizations with new ideas and projects. Transcendental Meditation® (TM) is an easy technique to help IT executives constantly expand their consciousness and be able to think creatively and unbounded thoughts.
About the Author
Dr. Anil Maheshwari is an Associate Professor of Management Information Systems at MUM. He directs the new MIS Graduate Certificate program at MUM. He completed his Ph.D. in MIS from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH. He has taught MIS at many universities, including 3 years at the City University of New York. He also brings 20 years of rich IT industry experience including 9 years at IBM and a few years at fast-paced start-ups. Among other adventures, he successfully ran a marathon.
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