The Evolving Role of the CIO
By Milan Shetti
As companies look to modernize their technology as quickly as possible, they’re often finding it’s harder than ever before to bring on the talent needed to do so. In today’s hot hiring market, filling tech-focused roles from CIOs to developers is proving difficult.
I have seen firsthand how the past few years have put transformation efforts into overdrive. The massive disruption we’ve experienced has led to a unique moment for leaders as businesses cannot afford for leadership to be focused on just one part of the business. This has not only led to the era of technologists as CEOs, but also the need for CIOs and other C-suite executives who deeply understand both technology and what it takes to successfully transform while continuing to deliver for customers and partners.
As a result of these changes, interim hires can play an important role on the technology front.
Whether organizations are looking to digitize more of their processes, modernize their existing infrastructure, or even help address the organizational changes that come with mergers and acquisitions, an interim CIO may be the best place to start when filling the role — it was for us at Rocket Software.
Why an interim CIO? The role has grown considerably for a number of reasons, namely a changing market landscape and demands, shifting business priorities, and organizations transforming at a fast pace. Companies that are growing and scaling at a rapid rate no longer require a traditional CIO. Rather, they need a business-centric and transformational leader to help usher in strong technology and business processes. Turning to an interim CIO provides chief executives the opportunity to observe how such hires/a person can transform not only their function, but also align with key stakeholders across the organization. Having the chance to observe this process can then make the decision to move to a permanent CIO much easier.
So many organizations are reflecting on where they’ve been, how they’ve adapted to the rapid changes of the past two years, and how they want to evolve, grow and scale. Identifying a truly transformational CIO — someone who can accelerate change and bring vision and direction while being held accountable for execution and results — can help companies transition into that new era. Once an interim CIO demonstrates they have a business-centric mindset, can manage digital transformation projects, optimize business processes, and develop and execute organizational change management strategies, it’s time to make the hire permanent.
If you’re concerned about great tech leaders willing to take an interim role in today’s market — don’t be. If the important pieces are in place at an organization — transformational leadership, great culture, opportunity for growth, strong values — the talent will follow. It is important that interim hires have the chance to contribute new ideas and help enact change, especially at organizations looking to constantly innovate. Those factors will help ensure the role is attractive to top talent — and that your organization has the technical leadership it needs.
To learn more about Rocket Software and our leadership, check out this Wall Street Journal article featuring commentary from me and Rocket CIO Darlene Williams, who transitioned to a full-time role after originally being hired as interim CIO. You can also learn more on the Rocket website.