Top Key Skills Needed For Today’s CIOs (Part 4 )

In my previous posts on key skills for today’s CIO, I discussed Visionary & Strategic Leadership, Building High Performing Teams alongside Operational and Technical Excellence.

In the final post of this series, I will explain the principle of Detailed Product Leadership.

Detailed Product Leadership

Product Leadership is the concept of radically innovating products, markets and business models to deliver customer led innovation and competitive advantage. In other words, it’s all about becoming a trusted advisor to the business that is truly passionate about the client, its business, products and services.

Product Pioneer
To support this pioneering journey, IT is a critical enabler for both internally and externally focused innovation including re-inventing and repositioning products in the market place. In a world where credits & debits are highly commoditised, innovation has to focus on new products & services, such as digital wallets and cashless payments, through to social CRM and big data.

In today economy, this can only be achieved by conducting a product / service profitability analysis to capture customer desires, supply chain demand with emerging trends and marketing analysis, to reveal rich seams of undiscovered customer needs.

This wealth of information can be mined to reveal unmet needs and customer sentiment, leading to a radical innovation of products, process and business models.

CIOs that want to become true product pioneers will need to drive business strategy and innovation coupled with a deep customer understanding.

This will be achieved by focusing on:

  • Market Knowledge – being passionate about the business. Knowing the industry and the competitive environment.
  • Strategic Orientation – aligning the technology vision to meet both the short and longer term goals of the business.
  • Commercial Orientation – understanding the cash and capital requirements to drive both top line revenue growth and bottom line earrings.

Analytics & Dashboards
This can be supported by developing a culture of analytics to measure everything you can, including dynamic dashboards to generate real time insights up and down the value chain.

In my experience, this will lead to improved real time decisions based on improved analytics and business case monitoring to evaluate ‘best of breed’ v ‘best of need’ solutions to deliver an enhanced product proposition.

Detailed product leadership is focused on making things happen. It’s about becoming a trusted advisor to the business, to weave IT and business strategy together, to radically innovate products and markets to deliver a concrete value proposition to both the business and its customers.

In this series, I have discussed the top key skills that are needed for today’s CIO. In the current environment, things have to happen differently. To be successful, CIOs have to exceed and out perform in the 4 top key skills of :

  • Visionary & Strategic Leadership
  • Building High Performing Teams
  • Operational & Technical Excellence
  • Detailed Product Leadership

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