Avatar of the CIO

Avatar of the CIO

Posted by V.S. Parthasarathy onin Leadership/Management

Recently I was on the CIO Talk Network and we were discussing on the emerging and changing role of the Head of IT function and I was pleasantly surprised with the co-speaker introducing himself as the Head of CPO (Chief Process Officer). During the course of the interview, he explained that he preferred the title of the CPO v/s. CIO as it describes the real role that he is playing.

Before I give my views, I would like to ask all of you:

What do you think is the role of the Head of the IT Organization? Is he/she the Chief Information Officer ? Is that what the role is ? or Is it something else ?

While the word “Chief” would be constant as each one of us would like to be the Chief. But what are we Chief of ? I would like to welcome your thoughts and tweets of what we are and more importantly of what we want to be. I went to my senior management and asked them what do they want me to do and their answer was

  • help me improve what I have – Enable;
  • help me bring what I don’t have – Enhance;
  • but most important is ‘co-create’ with me. – Engender.

If I were to explain the kind of the role – than should I say that our role at particular level is to keep the lights on and keeping the lights on in such a way that they never felt there would have been an alternative.

The second part – if you have to enable them, then one would wonder who knows the processes and the system of the organization best:

  • Is it the Business Person, CFO or someone else ?
  • Could it be you or Is it ‘You’ /  IT Department ?

And if we were to think or at least have the best bet and best opportunity to be there:

  • Do we want to be there ?

Which is why before addressing the good point my co-speaker made during the interview – I feel that of all the areas covered by CIO’s, co-creating is probably more exciting even as the other two are important and vital to the organization’s success and prosperity.

I would look forward to your inputs on the emerging role and title (of Head of IT)

  • Chief Value Delivery Officer, Chief of Transformation

I would like to add couple of points to get the discussion started.

  • In the new context of the business terminology and environment – what is the real role of Heads of IT of large corporations? And therefore what is the appropriate title?
  • Where does the person make the most important contribution?
  • What does the person spend most of the quality time on?
  • Should we use “inputs” by the person, the “process” she / he goes through or the “output” the person generates?
  • What is the most compelling in the minds of the “Constituents”?
  • What would attract the best talent into the role?
  • What would clarify to all what this role does ?

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V S. Parthasarathy

V S. Parthasarathy, Group CFO, Group CIO, President (Group M&A & Finance), Mahindra & Mahindra

V S Parthasarathy facilitates Mahindra Group in accomplishing its vision of being amongst the top 50 most admired brands in the world. He is a member of the think-tank of Mahindra Group’s supervisory board called the ‘Group Executive Bo... More   View all posts
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