An Entrepreneur’s IT Right Hand

It is the understanding that the business may fail in the attempt, but also that it will surely fail or, at best, attain mediocre performance if it does not act.

Gartner’s CEO research has established over the past six years that more than 60% of CEOs see their IT  rganizations as a key constraint to the changes they need. It is the ability of the entrepreneurial CIO to deploy resources and architecture within the IT organization that makes it a partner that is synchronized with the entrepreneurial objectives of the business.

So, what are the key attributes of a successful entrepreneurial CIO? Here are the most common characteristics, grouped by those areas of business impact:

 

 

Velocity of Change

 

 

  • Focus on advancing. Given all the negative events and forces that can make an entrepreneurial effort fail, the entrepreneurial CIO will focus on advancing the team to the next milestone with as little complication and delay as possible.
  • Ability to build and execute effective and agile teams. Building and motivating the team that executes on entrepreneurial efforts is a highly valuable skill, and one that will provide a path for the entrepreneurial CIO to advance his or her career.
  • A bias for business and a strength in technology. Although the CIO usually has a deep knowledge of technology, the entrepreneurial CIO leads with a business perspective, and looks for how technology can make a substantial difference in a short timeframe.
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Strategic Leverage and Extension

 

 

  •  A passion for customers. The individual demonstrates a strong interest in seeking out customers, finding out what they want and how they gauge their own satisfaction. The entrepreneurial CIO sends the IT organization out to observe and meet customers to gain deeper insights for business opportunities as well as incremental improvements, and to implement based on what they find.
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Operational Efficiencies

Lateral business vision. Given the complexities of the current business environment, the entrepreneurial CIO must have extraordinary lateral business vision, including the following:

 

 

  • The ability to link different entities together in the name of advancing an entrepreneurial initiative. The  entrepreneurial CIO should be able to work around obstacles to achieve the goals of the initiative.
  • The ability to look for adjacent business opportunities that can leverage the core strengths of the offering.
  • A combination of experiences in successfully starting and growing new business ventures, as well as leveraging experiences gained from working in the process-centric areas of IT.
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Additional articles by Jorge Lopez:

Risky Business

Defining Victory

Jorge Lopez is a Gartner Inc. vice president and distinguished analyst based in the United States, where he focuses on issues of concern to business executives, especially the CEO, and their relationship to IT and the CIO.