After years spent developing, building, implementing and maintaining the technology that allows a business to communicate, CIO and IT professionals need to get ready for their time in the limelight. According to a 2013 CIO Magazine survey, within 3-5 years many CIOs aspire to spend their time on more strategic activities including driving business innovation (54 percent), developing and refining business strategy (45 percent), and identifying opportunities for competitive differentiation (41 percent).

CIOs today have already transformed their organizations from disconnected islands of hardware and networks and applications to profit generating services for the business. Today, CIOs need to transform again from delivering discrete services to a truly connected web of services that create greater business value across the enterprise. Getting there doesn’t require change in technology insomuch as it requires a change in perspective.

Perspective can be a difficult thing to change, especially within an enterprise. In that same CIO Magazine survey, many CIO’s listed cloud, mobility, analytics, big data, social media management and customer engagement as initiatives they expected to complete this year. These are all important and strategic technologies vital to the success of your company, employees and customers. Individually they all serve a unique business need, and when viewed separate of each other they relegate the IT position to the corporate shadows off-stage.

In order to shift perspective, the IT executive must take existing investments as well as future investments and connect those discrete services in a way that delivers business value by enabling better, faster, smarter business decisions and service to their customers and partners alike. By leveraging an open and connected platform that integrates all existing and new investments, they can maximize value by providing the right information to the right people at the right time to the right device. When the CIO is viewed as the central role in business change, a trusted advisor to the business needs, the perspective has changed.

CIO’s need to think also about moving their organization the “No” to the “Know” team. All too often in order to balance business risk and reward, CIO’s are seen as stop signs, causing delay in business transformation. With the burst of consumer deployed applications, many IT organizations are challenged by the pace that users can adopt innovative applications. It’s the role of CIO to strike the balance that enables the business to evolve, while preserving a supportable, secure, and resilient infrastructure

Avaya knows that the most effective CIOs create a connected enterprise, an environment that can connect those islands across your enterprise ecosystem (customers, employees and partners). Using an open collaboration platform, like Avaya’s, I believe this connectedness brings your organization valuable, real-time business insight. In this world, analytics distill the data into something actionable and the collaboration tools work in unison across devices and locations to bring people together to solve business issues. A unifying video experience helps to quickly connect teams, reducing travel, while outbound communications provide quick response to customers on the devices and method of their choice, providing a resolution and increasing customer satisfaction.

This environment is created from the existing multi-vendor environment that you have today brought together through a connected platform that takes those discrete services and turns them into something bigger – something that adds business value and shifts the perception of your organization within the enterprise.

Every CIO knows the intrinsic value they hold within their enterprise. They have spent years researching, testing, learning and building systems that touch every piece of the business eco-system. Now they must tie all these systems together and present one body of work that moves the needle–of value and perception. It is time for the CIO to take center stage and showcase that intrinsic value. No more time spent backstage orchestrating – the lights are up and it is time for the CIO to steal the show.