The role of the technology leader: As technology binds CIOs, CTOs, CISOs and CDOs together directly into the growth of the business, how can these technology leaders work together seamlessly?
More leaders are asking whether how the technology function collaborates. The start of 2022 heralded more of the same for the business world. Pandemic-induced uncertainty permeates decision making, supply chains and forecasting. Climate change makes itself ever more known in our wild weather and wilder consequences. And as innovation continues its rapid series of evolutions—metaverse, quantum leaps, social trend predictions—the general public, and some governments, are becoming increasingly hostile to what many in the tech industry see as inevitable. How should technology leaders, CIOs, CTOs, CISOs and data leaders, respond?
How the technology function collaborate was the core question of HotTopics.ht’s first Technology Leaders Meetup of 2022.
The technology leader has become both central to the technology investments of a business and to the business itself. This is because a business’ value (potential and growth) is directly down to its technologies. When we consider the impact of technology and business therefore on the wider world, suddenly the CIO and others take center stage, and that limelight should be shared across the technology function if businesses are going to grow correctly. At the heart of this is collaboration, therefore.
The myriad roles within the technology function are determined by the type and scale of the business, and where it sits within the market. And historically, the CIO has led the function. That might not be the case moving forward; the structure of the technology function is evolving, too.
With that in mind the Meetup on how the technology function collaborate specifically addressed the following sub-questions:
- What can we expect from 2022 from or for our particular function?
- In what scenarios is it better to keep roles separate and collaborate, and where would it be useful to combine?
- In a united front what macro challenges should the technology function prioritize?
Thank you to Avril Chester, CTO, RIBA for her help in moderating the break-out virtual roundtables.
How should the technology function collaborate?
- As the function evolved over the last 10 years, roles were split and created to accommodate new responsibilities. Has a turner been cornered, though? Some CIOs are subsuming more responsibilities ironically as the CEO and Board bring technology further up the list of priorities. This is not always to the benefit of the CIO.
- CIOs are business strategy focused; CTOs are more technical executives. Businesses need to get better at understanding the difference so they can apportion more relevant roles.
- Scale of business vital in understanding what and who is needed in a technology function. Enterprises should widen scope to include data and digital executives. Startups should focus on CIOs and CISOs…
- …but these two roles should be kept separate throughout the lifecycle of a business. CISOs need accountability to CEO, not CIO, to maintain standards and decentralize risk.
- Book recommendation: “Creative Destruction” by Sarah Kaplan and Richard Foster.
- Enterprises with multiple executive technology roles need to beware of siloing; merge teams for projects to encourage widening of scope and team familiarity.
- Macro challenges to encourage the technology function collaborate debate: Climate change; cybersecurity risk; data quality and overabundance.
To join future Technology Leaders Meetups featuring debate between CIOs, CTOs, CISOs and data leaders, join the LinkedIn group here.