When people think of those in the IT department, they likely don’t associate them with strong leadership. For most companies, the group seems to keep to themselves and do what they’re told. They may have their own side projects that don’t have anything to do with the company. However, in successful companies, the C.I.O. Can’t take a back-seat — regardless of what business they happen to be in. They need to be seen as innovative, reliable, and ready to take the team to new heights.
Steve Betts is the C.I.O. of Health Care Services Corp, and he has a lot to say about his role and the role of other people in the industry. If leaders in the tech department are only taking orders, then the whole company is missing out a huge opportunity. Technology has to be intuitive enough to deliver value to a customer or to an employee, and IT teams need to be flexible enough to get the job done. For Betts’ part, he was attempting to make it easy for people to handle their healthcare, which has never been as complicated as it is today. It took dispersing IT experts to each part of the business and reinforcing the idea of partnership and unity across the board.
IT professionals may know a lot about how both the internal and customer-facing website works, but not so much about what the website actually says. On the one hand, it makes sense. How can a person be expected to be a leading IT executive and an expert salesman, marketer, and customer service superstar? However, by keeping the two worlds separate, the company will only run into trouble. Through education and encouragement, a C.I.O. can feel more confident when it comes to suggesting ideas, and forward-thinking when it comes to what customers will want now, 6 months from now, and a year from now.
Betts is staunch when he proclaims that IT executives need to have a business mentality first and a tech thinking second. By keeping the leadership on the same plane, projects, work, and changes all have their place. Website architecture should be in the boardroom as well as in the project management meetings. Any methodology utilized needs to have an integrative approach to get employees and goals on the same page.
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