CIOs need greater ‘business focus’

Business acumen and technical skills the ‘holy grail’

CIOs need to develop a greater business focus and improve their communication skills if the role of the CIO is to flourish in the future.

In a presentation at the World Computing Congress in Brisbane, former Australian Computer Society (ACS) president, Kumar Parakala, said recent research indicates the role of the CIO is changing rapidly.

“We’ve come a long way in trying to define and understand the role of CIO. More than ever, CIOs are being leveraged in the business and the role is changing at a rapid pace,” he said.

Parakala said CIOs need to develop greater communication skills in order to take on a business-orientated role.

“It is important that the role of the CIO as a corporate executive is realised,” he said. “The CIO needs to learn to communicate better. It’s not that they can’t talk, it’s that they need to talk in a way that people understand.”

The post-GFC economy has provided an increased challenge according to Parakala, who said the CIO has needed to be adaptive to disruptive conditions.

“CIOs are working in a very dynamic environment. Several businesses around the world have had their circumstances change overnight,” he said.

“The pressures CIOs are going through are compounded by economic challenges and political rhetoric around outsourcing. Current economic and political conditions are making the role of the CIO very difficult and complex.”

As well as economic pressures, Parakala said CIOs need to contribute to business performance.

“The need for a business CIO role is emerging. Having business acumen and technical skill is the holy grail for CIOs,” he said.