How Can CIOs Lead the C-Suite Technology Innovation Conversation?

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There was a time when people didn’t expect much from chief information officers (CIOs) other than to keep back-office operations stable and secure. Keeping technology costs low and avoiding risk was paramount to keeping the proverbial lights on. Contribution of new Ideas that could lead to significant business changes, process improvements or market growth were unexpected and often unwelcome.

But expectations have changed in recent years. Boards and executives are beginning to realize that they just can’t CIOs bring value to the table, but the lack of technological innovation affects the organization’s ability to compete with more promising competitors. The time has come for CIOs to embrace innovation leadership and be willing to take risks that can yield huge rewards.

You don’t have to go on this journey alone. Successful innovation by CIOs often comes from creating a strategy collaborative work working with non-information technology (IT) business leaders. In this analysis, I’ll explain how you, as a CIO, can effectively build these co-creation relationships and lead the technology innovation conversation.

Join tech enthusiasts and visionaries

You may win over C-suite skeptics and technophobes who are self-conscious about the costs of new technology, but by joining forces with someone who appreciates the value the technology can bring, you’ll make faster progress first. This co-creation partner can help explain to the board or executives who approve the new technology spend how this investment will help the business.

Examples of partnerships that could be co-created include someone, such as a vice president of marketing, who has already witnessed the benefits of a marketing automation strategy; saw CFO AP automation in action; or vice presidents of manufacturing and engineering who are already working with plant technology and want to integrate it into other systems, such as artificial intelligence (AI), to increase overall equipment efficiency (OEE).

Look for the low hanging fruit

Chances are, the co-creation partner already has an idea to improve their area. The CIO’s role is to provide these needs with new technology solutions, to support their projects and create a structure ready to meet other needs. Current market realities offer low-hanging fruit in terms of new technological solutions and potential frameworks to build to meet new needs. The Covid-19 pandemic has led most companies to turn to CIOs to help solve logistical challenges caused by closed offices and other facilities, limited travel and unexpected support needs. remote work situation. It was an opportunity to demonstrate innovative value to CIOs who were ready to meet these challenges.

Now is the time to harness that momentum and use your win as a conversation starter. We are just beginning to understand distributed reality. an increasingly remote workforce. New technologies and enablers designed to increase online collaboration hybrid Remote support for conference rooms and factory shop floors can be a good starting point. A CIO can adopt new technologies virtual reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR)and enhanced conferencing solutions.

In addition to the sudden need to work remotely, another challenge was the lack of available workers. This presents another opportunity for technological innovation: process improvement through automation. In the past, automation This may be seen as a threat to workers who fear being replaced by physical robots or software robots. In times of staff shortages, it’s a way to do more with less. We still need the employees we have, but now we can grow our business without adding additional employees. This is a great conversation starter for smart automation solutions.

Build trust

You need to build trust in order to attract a potential co-creation partner who can help you secure funding and credibility with the board or executives. There are two particularly effective ways to do this:

  1. To learn. Take the time to learn everything you can about your partner’s business. Take them to lunch. Ask lots of questions. Do your research. You will need to expand your knowledge beyond IT topics to fully understand their needs and create solutions with them.
  2. Proof of Concept (POC). Once you have an idea that might work, start small. Don’t try to dive right into a big project before testing the waters. Many software providers, especially software providers cloud based technology – make it easy to try before you buy. Build enough to give a convincing performance. This will go a long way in building the confidence you need to take on big innovative projects.


There’s never been a better time for CIOs to demonstrate value through innovation. Organizations, management and boards are looking to CIOs to help them remain competitive in a rapidly changing environment. It is imperative that CIOs use this opportunity to build strong collaborative relationships with their tech-savvy business allies, learn their needs, build trust, and win quickly with low-hanging fruit.

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