2 items tagged "Information Technology"

  • 7 competences to develop to become a successful CIO

    7 competences to develop to become a successful CIO

    The days when CIOs could glide into a long-term career based solely on their technical abilities are rapidly fading.

    “It’s no longer enough for IT leaders to be tech experts,” warns Bob Hersch, a principal at Deloitte Consulting. The best-in-class CIOs of today are also business savvy, using their knowledge to embed IT as a service capability.

    “This business-centric approach integrates IT into an overall business strategy,” he adds.

    The best way any IT leader can augment his or her current technical knowledge — and strengthen their long-term career prospects — is by committing to developing the following seven essential business competences.

    1. An entrepreneurial mindset

    CIOs, regardless of their organization’s size, have to act like entrepreneurs, operating with speed, agility, and ever higher levels of passion, empathy, and creativity, advises Ram Nagappan, CIO at global investment firm BNY Mellon Pershing.

    Disruption is the new constant. “Competition is coming from all corners of the market, with fintechs and startups moving at light speed,” Nagappan says. To meet competition head on, CIOs must think like entrepreneurs and act as agents of change. “They need to constantly think about how their business could be disrupted at any point in time and how they can creatively deploy technology to get ahead of potential disruptors and future-proof the business,” he suggests.

    2. Strong leadership skills

    Leadership is a core competency that paves the way to successful technology transformation. “To truly lead, you must have business acumen in addition to technical understanding,” explains Richard Cox, CIO at media conglomerate Cox Enterprises. “Our jobs are really to leverage technology to unleash the potential of the business, and you simply have to have an understanding of the business landscape in order to exploit these opportunities.”

    Leadership is a combination of internal and external engagement. The problems CIOs face today are growing increasingly complex. The future is ambiguous, and answers are often not clear or simple. “The only way to navigate in... these uncharted waters, is to build an environment that allows people to bring ideas, perspectives, and input to solve problems,” Cox says. “Building teams that create aligned empowerment is more important today than ever.”

    Poor IT leaders often make the mistake of setting project plans, gate reviews, and delivery dates without educating the IT team on the who, what, when, and why of how the effort will help the enterprise, says Harley Bledsoe, CIO at BBB National Programs, a nonprofit organization that oversees more than a dozen industry self-regulation programs that sets standards for business advertising and privacy practices.

    “Bringing the team along on the journey as they execute on their deliverables is critical to developing an effective solution,” he explains.

    3. A consumer-oriented focus

    Technology has never been more powerful and accessible. Most employees — technical and non-technical — now have easy access to an array of sophistcated device, software, and network tools. CIOs need to ensure that workplace and work-at-home technologies at least keep pace with consumer products and services. Employees will quickly get frustrated if enterprise technology and services are more difficult to use than their home counterparts, Hersch warns. “When IT is perceived as an obstacle, the entire department is at risk,” he says.

    Shadow IT typically emerges when enterprise employees become dissatisfied with IT-provided tools. “These alternative IT capabilities diminish the CIO and IT’s role,” Hersch explains. “Over time, this can create the perception that the central IT department is an expensive and expendable infrastructure that doesn’t enable the organization for growth.”

    4. Financial acuity

    Once a CIO recognizes and understands the various factors that influence their enterprise’s finances, they can more accurately pinpoint the technology investments that promise to make the greatest impact.

    “It’s extremely likely technology can help solve any major problems or expand upon new opportunities,” says Martin Christopher, CIO of insurance provider CUNA Mutual Group. “It may be in accessing data for analytics, accelerating products to market, growing or optimizing channels, or [providing] automation and AI for better customer experiences, but inevitably there are tangible ways technology can help.”

    Christopher recommends spending time working with the enterprise finance planning and analysis (FP&A) team. “Too often, CIOs limit their focus to their own budgets and may only have a general sense of what’s causing changes to the company’s quarterly performance,” he says. “Your FP&A teams will often have the best sense of what’s happening ‘below the waterline,’ which could lead to a larger impact on company performance, positive or negative.”

    Christopher adds that business unit leaders will generally be grateful to see the CIO’s interest in what makes their business tick and how technology can help accelerate delivery of their objectives.

    For CIOs working for a regulated industry firm, such as insurance or financial services, Christopher suggests spending time with the organization’s governance, risk, and assurance (GRA) team.

    “CIOs who misunderstand the frame of external requirements their company operates within will find it difficult to honor commitments to their business partners,” he says. CIOs who aren’t fully informed on regulatory issues may also inadvertently discourage creative thinking, subconsciously fearing that the innovation may, in some way, violate a regulatory mandate.

    Bill VanCuren, senior vice president and CIO at NCR, believes that IT leaders should possess at least some formal accounting and finance education. Even more important, he adds, is maintaining a close working collaboration with the CFO team to review costs and other key financial issues.

    “You should also facilitate formal benchmarking of your IT costs and benefit tracking for comparison to best practices both within your industry and more broadly,” he recommends. “I personally participate in business case reviews to stay current on where IT investments are being positioned across the company.”

    5. Strategic thinking

    IT leaders should never stop refining their strategic reasoning abilities skills. “CIOs need to envision the future state of their business, spearhead strategies that create new products and business models, and influence change,” says Thomas Phelps, CIO at Laserfiche, an enterprise content management technology provider, and an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business. “To do this, you need a deep understanding of your business, your industry, and be willing to try bold new ideas.”

    CIOs are increasingly expected to stay ahead of existing and emerging technologies and evaluate them within the context of business goals. “They have to work more closely than ever with the CEO and every business line within the company,” BNY Mellon Pershing’s Nagappan says. “They must bring to the table their business knowledge as well as the creativity needed to deploy technology to advance business goals, and to deliver a seamless, superior client experience and greater efficiency.”

    6. A technologist’s mindset

    A technician has a basic knowledge of general technology principles and applications. A technologist, on the other hand, is someone who’s fully aware of current and emerging technologies and their impact on business operations and services.

    “It’s more than understanding technology — it’s also truly understanding business,” says Alicia Johnson, consulting principal of technology transformation at professional services firm Ernst & Young.

    A successful CIO must be able to set an enterprise’s IT direction while planning for future expansion. “To do this, they need to be transparent, exhibit strong communication skills, partner with other business units, develop a reliable team, and demonstrate a vision for the business,” Johnson explains.

    A major challenge for CIOs is knowing how to do more with less, particularly when planning budgets. “If a CIO can think logically about the direction and growth plans of a business, they’ll be able to understand available budgets and which investments are most important in reaching the overall business goals,” Johnson says. “This skill is essential, because it will help CIOs succeed when it comes to business investments, partnering with the business, communicating, setting expectations for stakeholders, and team development.”

    Being able to articulate a clearly defined future vision will also helps build trust within the IT team as well as with enterprise peers.

    7. A strong business communicator

    An IT leader must express ideas and concepts in a manner that business colleagues can easily understand. “Lose the tech-speak,” advises Seth Harris, a partner in executive search firm ON Partners.

    CIOs should speak in terms that a non-tech expert can understand and, whenever possible, use metrics that mean something to the business. “For example, don’t talk about upgrading a web platform, talk about driving revenue via ecommerce and the critical components needed to make that happen,” Harris suggests.

    Being an active listener goes hand-in-hand with strong communications skills. “To meet and exceed customer expectations, mutual understanding is critical, which can only be achieved through a strong relationship built through open and active back and forth communication,” BBB National Programs’ Bledsoe says.

    Author: John Edwards

    Source: CIO

  • The Advantages of Python for Businesses  

    The Advantages of Python for Businesses

    Enterprises are making a foray into the digital realm to be a part of digitization. To set up their foot in the digital industry, they need to choose a portable, scalable, flexible, and high-level programming language for product development. One programming language that meets all their demands is Python. This general-purpose programming language has been around for decades and is still gaining strong momentum for its simplicity, platform independency, user-friendliness, GUI support, and quick development time. It comes with a slew of libraries and frameworks that offer the most practical features to enterprises to digitize their operations and supercharge business growth.

    Python has been on the list of top programming languages since its release. It grabbed the third position in the list of commonly used programming languages in a 2021 developer survey conducted by Stack Overflow. Furthermore, Python ranked first in the TIOBE Index for September 2022. This index is updated once a month and is used to check the popularity of programming languages based on the number of developers available across the globe, courses, and third-party vendors. This indicates that Python is a strong contender in developing enterprise-grade solutions. From Startups and SMBs to large enterprises including Instagram, Google, Uber, Netflix, Shopify, and more are leveraging the potential of Python to stay competitive. If you also planning to outwit your competitors in 2023, you should consider Python for AI and ML product development.

    5 Reasons Why Businesses Should Invest in Python

    1) Supports Big Data

    Data plays a significant role in the success of a business. In today’s time, enterprises are churning out large volumes of data. According to a report by IDC, the worldwide data is expected to grow by 61% and will reach 175 zettabytes by 2025. The rise in data presents an opportunity for businesses to unlock new revenue streams, drive workforce productivity, optimize operations efficiency, and do much more. Since Python supports Big Data, enterprises can use this programming language to develop BI and Analytics tools and discover patterns and insights hidden in Big Data. By extracting insights hidden in Big Data, enterprises can make actionable decisions to supercharge their business growth.

    2) Integration With IoT

    IoT is one of the emerging technologies embraced by enterprises across verticals. Last year, the number of connected IoT devices was more than 10 million and it is expected that this number will surpass 25 billion by 2025 and 41 billion by 2027. Furthermore, it is estimated that global IoT spending will grow to around 1.6 trillion by 2025. Businesses can boost their IoT capabilities since Python offers platforms like Raspberry Pi that facilitate programmers to develop enterprise-grade solutions using the concepts of IoT. In other words, integration with IoT makes Python the most preferred programming language for developing future-proof solutions that drive business growth.

    3) Promotes Test-Driven Development

    Another strong reason to consider Python for development is that it promotes test-driven development. Many Python frameworks leverage a test-driven development approach that allows developers to write the test case before they start writing codes. The reported test cases come in handy since they allow developers to test the code simultaneously resulting in quick prototype and MVP development. When starting new projects, businesses should invest in Python since creating prototypes and MVP of big projects is a complete breeze with this programming language.

    4) Data Security

    Did you know? More than 40 billion records were exposed globally last year. On average, an enterprise per year encounters 130 security breaches. What’s more alarming is that cybercrime comprising everything from data hacking to embezzlement or theft, and destruction has increased by 600%. This may be the reason why data and its security have become a key concern for enterprises both large and small alike. Fortunately, enterprises can steer clear of cyber attacks using

    5) Compatibility With Major Platforms

    Compatibility plays a crucial role when it comes to product development since it determines the user-friendliness and usability of the product. For instance, you have a business application that runs on a single platform, and when you plan to tap into other platforms, you may have to invest in building applications for other platforms from scratch. On the other hand, the code developed in Python runs across all the major platforms or Operating Systems (OS) without recompilation.

    Summing Up

    Businesses looking for a robust, secure, and functional application should consider Python since it meets all the requirements of developing a modern solution tailored to unique requirements. Furthermore, it supports a host of emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and ML, making it a coveted choice for developing future-proof solutions to drive business growth and profitability.

    Author: Alice Gray

    Source: Datafloq

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