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How Do You Have a Successful CIO Career? Hint: It's a Job That Requires You to Predict the Future

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The primary role of the chief information officer revolves around the oversight of the flow of information and, specifically, the processes involved with information technology. In order to be successful in this job, it is vital that CIOs keep an eye on the future in order to prevent problems and/or capitalize on opportunities.

No one, no matter how great, can start at the top. The journey to the top is one that takes years of experience, hard work, networking, and in some cases, even a little bit of luck. But getting to that widely desired C-level job, and all of the perks that come with it, is only half of the journey. The real test comes when the parade for your arrival has ended and the real work begins. And for the chief information officer (CIO), that work is especially arduous when one considers the fact that this position has one of the highest turnover rates of all executive roles.

Technology has changed the way many C-level employees approach their jobs, but few executive positions have evolved as rapidly as those of CIOs, especially when considering the fact that a given CIO will be tasked with utilizing technology to collect and analyze information for the betterment of company functions. The job of a CIO, after all, not only entails ensuring the successful oversight of information management, it also means predicting future technologies that may impact business functions. The need for foresight does not end there, however. To succeed as CIO, one must be aware of trends within the business world and have the ability to react accordingly.



One of the reasons forecasting is so important is that the utilization of technology to enhance business operations may be vital to a company’s success. Analyzing the manufacturing time of a product, for instance, as well as accurately predicting the number of items to be manufactured in a given time period, may result in the implementation of a new manufacturing method and related technology that make it easier and less costly to create the product. Moreover, forecasting future trends may make it easier to determine potential weaknesses in a system, or allow the company to discover new business opportunities.

With an eye toward the future, and with the help of technology, the CIO is able to assimilate and find trends in otherwise random information. Through the CIO’s activities, the information that is obtained can be shaped into coherent and related data that may lead the company in new directions. As previously stated, this may result in using technology to enhance manufacturing processes or identifying consumer trends.

The use of technologies to collect information is often the best way to see trends that otherwise would be missed by other C-level employees of the company. And the CIO is often the only one to have access to this information. As a result, to see these trends and to ensure success in this role, it is vital that the CIO creates a positive working relationship with the CTO as their jobs become increasingly intertwined.

This relationship allows the CIO to better predict what will happen, and he or she can then pass that information along to other members of the executive team. Having done so, the CIO has completed his or her ultimate task and ensured that the company is successfully prepared to deal with future opportunities and problems.

''We find forecasts invaluable,'' Jerine Rosato, the Port of San Diego’s Program Manager of Strategic Management Services and Manager of Customer Relations, said in an article on CIO Update. ''Times may not be as great as we think; the political and economic environment could be moving for or against our plans; or, things could be brewing at the grass roots level that could stall progress.''

Especially considering the level of competition involved in the current business environment, and the fact that businesses must now prepare for the possibility of a recession, it is all the more important that companies accurately obtain and evaluate information because this is the best way to ensure success. And the ability to do that effectively is directly dependent upon the ability to forecast.

Ultimately, the CIO needs to look to the future not only to help the company succeed but to ensure success in his or her own job as well. Doing this means being aware not only of current trends but having the ability to determine what the future will bring. Obviously, no one can predict the future without error, but by analyzing the information that has been gathered by the company, the CIO will ensure that the company has at least a general idea of what is to come and can prepare accordingly.
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 engineering  operations  trends  reaching  procedures  functions


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