Gone are the days of a company’s lone “IT person” – a mysterious and omniscient entity, sitting in an over-sized coat closet with fans running 24/7 to keep servers cool as they answered endless questions related to all things related to corporate technology.


Evolution has been kind to IT support, as they morphed into more sophisticated teams, now with a CIO at their helm. Responsibility grew even further, as the office of the CIO was faced with challenges around infrastructure, mainframes and in many cases, maintaining “home grown business applications” proprietary to the organization.

Today, the role of the CIO role continues to undergo a profound transformation that is pushing business-technology leaders inevitably closer to customer demands, experiences and customer engagements. A critical shift to achieve success for today’s CIO is the need for comprehensive understanding of the business they are supporting, from not only an IT perspective but also through a true business lens.

Phil Wienzimer’s latest book, The Strategic CIO: Changing the Dynamics of the Business Enterprise, reinforces these ideas. Both CIOs and key IT personnel need to recognize how the business operates, the value provided to customers, the competitive market and industry trends.

The shift in challenges range from how to help drive revenue; big data and analytics; support for the latest ‘bring your own device’ phenomenon; IT security; cloud capabilities and, if the organization is focused on growth, M&A IT integration. These are just some of the concerns that need to be considered if CIOs are to be charged with keeping their organizations competitive in the marketplace.

Companies and organizations have started looking to their IT organizations to support and enable business growth. How IT struggles with, and ultimately tackles, the demand for tactical services while enabling the organization’s strategic objectives can be a critical success factor.

How a CIO becomes successful, depends greatly upon how they can quickly build trust among their peers and gain insight into what is critically important to the business. Building and strengthening these relationships early is imperative in understanding the underlying concerns of the organization in order to identify the key imperatives and build a clear roadmap aligned with and supporting the overall business strategy.

The role of the CIO is so much more than the technology itself. It’s about becoming an executive level business partner trusted to comprehensively understand the core business and industry challenges as they enable the company through technology-driven solutions. With so much added complexity and responsibility placed on the shoulders of the CIO, we’re pleased to see the role of IT has graduated far beyond the icy-cold coat closet of decades past.

This article was originally published in the Summer 2015 TayganPoint Newsletter.