CIOs, Do You Have the Right Skills?

Ann All

I write fairly often about the role of the CIO, whom I once called the James Brown of the Enterprise.


Reoccurring themes include the often thankless nature of the job and the increasingly high expectations for IT (and by extension, the CIO). These two trends are perhaps contributing to IT leaders' apparent malaise. Sixty-eight percent of CIOs responding to a Harvey Nash survey said they felt their job was "more strategic" now, down from 80 percent who reported feeling that way last year.


Anna Frazzetto, Harvey Nash's VP of Technology Solutions for its U.S. division, told me ina recent interview that her company is seeing more churn among CIOs, which she attributes to their switching jobs in an effort to find more fulfillment. She says:

They feel as if their voice isn't being heard. They can't move fast enough. They wind up leaving. And I am seeing a lot of CIOs of larger organizations going to smaller companies.

I couldn't help being reminded of our interview and my previous blogs when I saw this InfoWorld article titled "The 30 Skills Every IT Person Should Have." Only five items apply specifically to IT managers, but it's strongly implied that managers should be able to tackle the entire list.


It's pretty hard not to feel overwhelmed by a list that encompasses PC troubleshooting, basic sys admin, project management and learning to speak in plain English (rather than tech acronyms). For what it's worth, roughly 17 items on the list are tech-oriented while the rest are broader business skills. A biggie (especially in light of my blog from Friday about process improvement) is learning business processes. As the article's author, a real-life director of IT operations, aptly points out in his terrifically succint explanation:

Being able to spot improvements in the way the business is run is a great technique for gaining points. You don't need to use fancy tools; just asking a few questions and using common sense will serve you well.

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