The Changing Role of the CIO

By Mel Kirk, SVP & CIO, Ryder System, Inc.

The Changing Role of the CIO

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Modernization of the CIO

By Kevin Haskew, SVP & CIO, ON Semiconductor

Modernization of the CIOKevin Haskew, SVP & CIO, ON Semiconductor

The CIO position has evolved rapidly and fundamentally shifted from repairing projectors in meeting rooms, to a role that is much more about driving innovation and creating more effective approaches to conducting business.

It’s important to not only consider corporate strategy, but also the thinking style, risk attitude, and serviced mentality needed to support the business teams. The CIO function requires a leader who understands how all the pieces of the business fit together – and can talk to how analytics, organizational design, and infrastructure all support global growth.

In today’s business community, a CEO expects the CIO to manage people, finances, and materials, not just technology, as well as educate peer leaders on new possibilities enabled by digital technologies and on key business trade-offs implicit in technology choices.

IT must begin to participate in more corporate strategy meetings, translating business initiatives and requirements into information technology business solutions.

IT must anticipate risks and provide joint solutions, to inversely transform the way the other departments collaborate with IT, to drive innovation, and execute on business more strategically.

The CIO function requires a leader who understands how all the pieces of the business fit together 

A large majority of companies have become more focused on using IT to increase market share, moving beyond past emphasis on cost cutting.

Right now projects are divided into two areas. The first is operational improvements, delivering upon value added initiatives that grow revenue and operational efficiencies. The second is risk mitigation, otherwise known as the cost of doing business.

Modernization of the CIO function requires that these two objectives work in parallel - remain agile and proactively contribute to a company’s strategic flexibility. While new projects are ramping, we must still ensure that the day-to-day operations are covered and that systems are running smoothly, efficiently, safely, and securely.

This is especially important for the semiconductor industry which for the past few years has seen a lot of merger and acquisition activities.

A perfect example of the value-add and risk mitigation projects running in parallel would be when integrating a newly acquired company. Teams working on the integration of not only IT applications and personnel, would also work to establish an end state for long-term business goals of the company, and at the same time ensuring legacy business-as-usual operations during the process.

This interconnectivity of priorities requires regular communication between technology leaders and management.

Within a global company, IT is required (or often requested) to provide resources across every department and support rapid technology advancements and trends. By becoming a key business partner, the CIO can provide innovative business decisions and help drive change to continuously increase the value of the company. The CIO of the future will be accountable for what the business does, not just how it does.

Partnerships within a company are more important than ever to move forward. CIOs and their IT organizations can strengthen themselves by building relationships to drive changes in systems, process, and establishing measurable business goals (and maybe once in a while fixing a projector).

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