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The digital CIO: Three traits of a disruption-driving technology leader

By the Enterprise team on February 3, 2017

Filed under IT Leader

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“As CIO, your own journey to digital mastery begins with shaping a powerful digital vision for the business—a vision that reimagines how the organization creates assets that deliver goods, services, and experiences that customers perceive as valuable.”

—Nigel Fenwick et al., “Craft Your Digital Vision” (Forrester, 02/09/16)

Because digital transformation happens by integrating technology into all aspects of a business, the role and profile of the CIO must transform as well. No longer in a position of managing and maintaining legacy systems, the modern CIO has the responsibility—and opportunity—to partner with business operations to proactively foster innovation and achieve a competitive advantage.

Microsoft has observed that the IT leaders of the future share three core leadership traits:

  • Innovation mindset. Instead of simply working to improve operations and prevent downtime, the CIO of the future questions the entire system and endeavors to implement holistic, end-to-end solutions that integrate across departments.
  • Influence vs. control leadership style. Although the CIO of the past was reluctant to encourage shadow IT and outside-the-box thinking, the forward-looking CIO understands that creativity, autonomy, and collaboration are the drivers of innovation—and an environment of trust and empowerment is the best way to cultivate them.
  • Strong partnership between IT and the business. The CIO is in a unique position to assess the entire business holistically; implement end-to-end solutions that impact customers, employees, operations, and products; and play a pivotal leadership role in digital transformation.

Whether digital transformation happens incrementally or as a coordinated, company-wide effort, the CIO provides a pivotal leadership role in fostering an ideal environment for innovation and disruption.

To learn more about how YOU as Digital Leader can transform your business using the Microsoft resources that can enable you to achieve this, download the e-book: The Digital CIO

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