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The CIO is more than just the strategic driver of IT.  He or she must also be the enabler of business performance through technology and a strategic guide for the business through that ever-evolving world. .

CIO Role Summary

The CIO can literally make or break an organization’s ability to succeed.  To give the CIO the best chance of success, they must embrace strategic portfolio management or SPM.  Particularly, they must focus on these imperatives:

The CIO needs complete visibility

For the CIO it all starts with visibility.  Work is delivered in different forms – the Tri-Modal Reality of waterfall, agile and ad-hoc – and that work must be managed effectively regardless of how it is being executed.  The CIO has to be able to see an integrated picture of everything that is happening if they are to be effective.  That also extends beyond projects.  As organizations look to execute on their strategy in different ways – projects, programs, products and capabilities, so the CIO must be able to manage all of those elements and tie all work back to the strategies that drive them.

That requires control over an integrated set of IT analytics.  CIOs can only guide IT through a successful digital transformation that supports the business if all assets are integrated with total insight and control.  There must be a single management strategy for capabilities, services and products; applications; infrastructure; and projects or epics.

The right resources working on the right projects

The CIO is critical in ensuring the organization’s technology is leveraged to provide a competitive advantage.  They must ensure products and services are optimized through the best possible use of available technology and must ensure that the work being done is always aligned with the technology roadmap.  That also requires effective resource utilization.  Not just ensuring that all staff are working, but that those staff are applied to tasks that are making the biggest contribution to business success – people are doing the right work as well as doing work right.

Relationships are key if the CIO is to be successful.  Line of business executives are key partners, ensuring there is alignment between business and technology initiatives and investments.  The strategy realization office or SRO is also critical, helping the CIO to keep all work focused on optimizing the strategic return.