“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” –Douglas Adams
School might be out for summer for the kids, but that doesn’t mean CIOs are excused from learning some new skills or refining ones they already have. Successful CIOs have to be fluent in a broad variety of topics, both technical and non-technical. As I think about the role, three primary disciplines stand out that a successful CIO must be proficient in: Technology Management, General Management and Domain Expertise.
Within those disciplines, several skills emerged in recent years as more important to CIOs as they made the transition from the custom development world to the integration world. Those skills are highlighted in bold in the diagram below. A CIO need not be proficient in all of these areas, but at least should know what skills he/she needs to acquire or develop within the I.T. group and the benefits they bring to I.T. and the organization as a whole.
CIO Survival Skills
So, on which topics should CIOs focus their energy? Reading my colleague T-Roche’s treatises on the CIO Curriculum from prior years, you’ll notice a heavy emphasis on emerging technologies, business processes where technology can make an impact and a sprinkling of general management skills for good measure. Why does that mix stay consistent? CIOs rock when 1) they work to understand emerging technologies and the benefits those technologies bring to key delivery channels or business processes within their financial institution and 2) can communicate those effectively to their colleagues.
I’d submit to you that last year’s batch is still relevant if any of those topics tickle your fancy—BSA/AML/Fraud Compliance, Mobile Banking, Collaborative Software, Project Resource Management, and Negotiation were at the top of the 2008 list. Let’s talk about a few more topics this year that I see CIOs and I.T. groups in general grappling with.
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