Chief Ixxxxxx Officer – which are you?

I recently wrote about an opportunity to examine the role of a CIO: how a workshop with some students from ESSEC Business School had given me a welcome opportunity to think about my role wearing my CIO hat and its direction of travel.  This introspection had also been partly triggered in the days prior to the workshop  by my reading an thought provoking piece by R “Ray” Wang of Constellation Research entitled “The Four Personas of the Next Generation CIO”. I particularly liked his argument that the top CIOs will need to seamlessly integrate four personas to be high performers, namely Chief Integration Officer, Chief Infrastructure Officer, Chief Intelligence Officer and Chief Innovation Officer; that is a whole lot of chiefs!  The more I thought about his argument, the more it resonated and, somewhat annoyingly, I found it a far more elegant and succinct way of summing up the differing perspectives I had been referencing when presenting on the challenges facing CIOs today.  If you are a CIO, I suggest you need to read this material and, if you are an aspiring CIO, then doubly so.  The paper is restricted access but I also found that Ray has also posted his thinking to the Harvard Business Review Blogs and there is a neat graphic to boot:

Not all CIOs will attempt to operate all four personas solo and will look to supplement with their team members as suggested in the HBR blog post. However, this is exactly what I have been doing over the last 12 months and this simple model is actually extremely powerful when you map onto it activities, successes and failures.  I have started shamelessly referencing this model when discussing the CIO role and the challenges to help ensure I retain a balance. Partly for fun and partly as it is that time of year in Fujitsu for annual performance reviews I decided to map where I have allocated my time over the last six months by a quick/dirty review of my diary:

Now I can post-rationalize the time allocation along with the best of you.  I can give you all manner of coherent (in my mind at least) arguments for why my time has been so externally focused in the business rather than technologist mode and why when in technologist mode I have been focused on the integration space.  However, the value is in the self-review process of analysing and plotting the time allocation. What would be especially interesting is to plot in which quadrant my wins and my disappointments fall over the same period (and indeed I will be doing just that as preparation for my review, should my boss be reading!).

What this line of thought has confirmed for me is that I will be publishing an “annual report” for my function that will review our performance against objectives in the financial year just closed and set out our agenda for the coming twelve months.  We may well reflect the model above in the structure of the material but, if not, we will certainly be talking about how I and my team did against our targets in those four persona areas and how we will be jointly fulfilling all four in the coming year.  Clearly, like any good CIO, I will be balancing that future roadmap both with our corporate business imperatives and the available funding that we forecast the various business cases will generate.  If anyone has any great exemplars of such progress/performance reports that they are willing to share please feel free.

Finally I’d be failing in my declared intent to “keep it real” if I failed to cover one of the truisms of the CIO role: there is always more value you feel you should be delivering; there is never enough resource or funding to do all you know needs doing; and you will always be looking for initiatives to delight your stakeholders and user base (buying the time/space to carry out the hygiene projects without which eventually things will get terribly messy and difficult)!

Image credit © Harvard Business Publishing