6 ways to amplify the CIO position

The attraction to CIO jobs appears to be dwindling.

In a contributed piece in the Wall Street Journal, Thomas Davenport, PhD, distinguished professor of information technology and management at Babson Park, Mass.-based Babson College, wrote that fewer and fewer of his MBA students express desire to become CIOs.

"Even though the courses I teach tend to involve lots of IT, nobody wants to be the head of IT," he wrote.

To reverse this trend, Dr. Davenport offered six guidelines that could help make the CIO role more attractive.

1. Combine the CIO position with another position. Dr. Davenport said that by combining CIO duties with something more business-focused helps keep the job more important and relevant to senior management.

2. Expand CIO duties to include digital and data projects. Instead of mainly focusing on overhead and infrastructure matters, asking CIOs to create products and services that help advance business and make money can make the position more popular.

3. Have technology officers report to the CIO. Dr. Davenport wrote that if officers such as chief technology officers and chief data officers don't report to the CIO, it strips the CIO of power and lessens responsibility of the job. All these IT leaders need to work closely with business, not just CTOs and CDOs.

4. Focus on growing, instead of running, the business. According to Dr. Davenport, approximately 50 percent of IT spending should be dedicated to growing a business.

5. Have the CIO run online business. More and more business is conducted online, so to bolster the CIO position, Dr. Davenport suggests having the CIO oversee this sector of business.

6. Focus on information instead of transactions. A key benefit of IT systems is to gather and analyze data to help make better decisions, so having CIOs focus on the information instead of on transactional processes can really help grow business, Dr. Davenport wrote.

"Put some of these measures in place for your CIO job, and it will be returned to the level of esteem and envy such a position deserves," Dr. Davenport wrote.

More articles on CIOs:

We need flexible technology management, not just flexible technology
Digital innovation in full force, but talent lags behind: 4 key findings
Life of a healthcare CIO: UnityPoint Health's Joy Grosser

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