How important is it for CIOs to speak the language of the business?

2.9k views1 Upvote10 Comments

Board Member in Healthcare and Biotech, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
In the last seven years I've been helping CIOs of different companies with IT effectiveness and how they should communicate their strategies to the board. For all of us who run technology as a function, the dialogue should not be about technology, but how technology can help the business. I have been a little fortunate in that I was able to simplify the dialogue in English, rather than talk about anything with respect to technology. In fact, a business newspaper once featured me as a CIO who never spoke technology. And it helped me to the extent that I never had a conversation with any of my peers—CxOs or CEOs—about which solution to implement, whether that be the cloud or outsourcing my data center. They didn't care, because for them it was about the cost of running IT either at a unit level or as a percentage of revenue. They want to know how I am contributing to the top line or to the bottom line—am I keeping my customers happy? Am I keeping my employees enabled with technology so that they can run the business better? 
CIO in Education, 201 - 500 employees
Top importance!
Director of IT in Software, 201 - 500 employees
It's crucial
Director of Technology Strategy in Services (non-Government), 2 - 10 employees
Vital. If a CIO is not understood, they will never get the buy in necessary to drive the business forward.
CIO in Education, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Agree that this is imperative.
Global Director - Information Technology in Services (non-Government), 201 - 500 employees
Its important skill for the CIOs to build the relationships with C-suite
VP of IT in Media, 10,001+ employees
VP of IT in Consumer Goods, 5,001 - 10,000 employees
Essential and critical
Chief Information Officer in Healthcare and Biotech, 201 - 500 employees
It's a critical competency.  As CIO you need to understand and anticipate business needs and requirements, propose solutions, and discuss with your peers, board members, and key stakeholders.  If you cannot do that, then you will not succeed as CIO.
3 1 Reply
CIO / Managing Partner in Manufacturing, 2 - 10 employees

Totally agree

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