How IT leaders can become better business leaders

How IT leaders can become better business leaders
May 20, 2022  |  BY

It’s no secret that today’s CIOs have to bring a wider array of expertise to the table than they did in the past. No longer can their days be merely focused on networks, databases, software upgrades, connectivity and troubleshooting. In 2022, the CIO must have a business perspective for everything they do. They have to be business leaders.

While the goal is clear, the path to get there isn’t so obvious. How do tech executives gain contemporary business knowledge, master management fundamentals, and learn the skills necessary to be true partners with colleagues in other departments?

Learn how the organization earns revenue
When you’re behind the scenes assuring that technology is working how it’s supposed to, you might not be fully aware of how the company brings in payments. It’s important to become familiar with those factors and strategies.

What’s involved in the marketing process? How does the sales cycle work? How does the product development department make their decisions? Knowing the answers allow you to more accurately foster functions that ultimately print paychecks for you – and everyone else.

Learn how politics can affect technology
We don’t recommend discussing politics in the workplace, but CIOs are wise to maintain awareness of the issues that shape the political climate. Governmental decisions and policies, whether on the local, state, federal, or global level, trickle down and affect the business community.

In your case, those choices can force you to shift technical strategies and tactics, for the better or the worse. Be prepared in order to be proactive rather than reactive.

Learn about finance
When it comes down to it, finance is the essential language of business, and all successful leaders should be able to speak it well. The more you know about broader financial markets and the economy, the better you’ll be able to participate in key strategic decisions. More so, you’ll have deeper context for decisions around technology investments, hiring, and other potential resources.

Learn how pricing works
An increasing amount of companies are adopting a policy where they can quickly change prices based on the shifts in specific market forces. This is called dynamic pricing.

In order to implement dynamic pricing, the CIO must be heavily involved, as the concept requires the proper parsing and management of a great amount of data. In this role, CIOs must not only consult with the CEO about which technologies can facilitate dynamic pricing, they also have to design the appropriate features and functionality. And all this can only be carried out when you understand the fundamentals of pricing.

Learn about data privacy
Company lawyers aren’t the only ones who need to concern themselves with data issues. As the CIO, you must be familiar with relevant data privacy laws and regulations, and how they impact your technology strategy. This is crucial, as the way you collect and store data – and the potential holes in data security – can affect the vibrancy of the business.

Learn how users think
Every interaction someone has with your company, whether they’re a customer, prospect, or partner, has a technical component. As such, we suggest getting up to speed on the latest factors that drive user behavior.

Why do customers abandon carts? What are common complaints about customer service? What frustrates prospects? What do people want to see improved in their online experiences? Not so long ago, business units would use information as a basis for requests to IT. But when technology leaders are close to the user mindset, they can proactively address concerns and provide even more value.

Learn what employees really want
Remote work is here to stay, and companies are scrambling to determine how to implement the right hybrid strategy. Much of that responsibility falls on the shoulders of CIOs.

They have to figure out how technology can best foster collaboration and productivity, wherever people may work on a given day. At the root, it’s about designing experiences that shift from the office paradigm to the human-centric paradigm.

Talk to people across the company to discover what support they need to be their best. Rather than making technology decisions in conference rooms, talk to employees one-on-one to fully appreciate their desires and concerns. The business will be better off, and you’ll be a better leader.