Conversations with a CIO – Delivering Value

“… seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.” Alfred Adler


Conversation - compressed.jpgTechnology vs. Outcomes

The difficulties faced by many CIOs are greater than ever before – they manage the relationship between IT and the Business; they bridge the gap between what is and isn’t possible with technology. When I was a CIO, I looked for vendors to come with a solution to a problem that was part of a service which delivered a business outcome. As a buyer of services, I valued conversations with vendors presented a complete package; an outcome-based approach rather than a convoluted technical solution.

Welcome to the CIO’s world

So with this in mind – How should representatives from technology companies talk to CIOs? What type of conversations do CIOs most value? What are they interested in? What do they talk about? These are some of the questions I am asked by sales and marketing people as they prepare to meet with a CIO. Unfortunately, there is no magic potion you can drink that turns you into a CIO-conversant person –. This Blog series will discuss some of the key areas to concentrate on when meeting with a CIO.

Understand some basic facts before meeting with a CIO. First, CIOs are extremely busy and are inundated daily with technical questions and cold sales calls (it is a known fact that CIOs receive thousands of email and phone messages per year trying to sell technology products to them). Every man and his dog wants to sell them something – from the next best technology to advice and support on running their business. The CIO is the “chief technology enabler” to their business, they must “keep the lights on” so the business can continue to succeed.

Second, CIOs must predict the future; how a world with constantly emerging new technologies will look. However, the primary focus is the business. Although CIOs are normally technologists, they are also critical business people. They ensure the organization (public or private) can deliver the desired or expected outcomes. Thus, be prepared to explain to a CIO how you will deliver value to them in terms they will appreciate.

Key Discussion Point 1 – Building trust

One of the most important skills when talking to executives at any level is having an empathy and understanding of their challenges. Like anyone else, CIOs are driven to achieve personal success (and possibly advancement) by delivering a set of objectives for their organisation. If they meet those objectives, they will usually be well-regarded within their organization, and perhaps among their external colleagues as well.   Great CIOs want to be the best CIO they can be. Selecting great technology vendors is part of what enables them to succeed – the IT environment is too complex to do it all by oneself.

Therefore, a vendor’s ability to help make a CIO successful is dependent on establishing a trusting relationship rooted in the vendor’s credibility and the CIO’s ability to understand how IS can deliver critical business outcomes (e.g. costs, ROI, business case, etc. ). The challenge for both the CIO and vendor is to understand what the user’s (and probably also the ultimate customer’s) problem or need really is so that the right technology can be used to address it.

Mario Devargas

As a passionate and visionary senior IT professional, I have an extensive record of achievement across the private and public sectors, including consultancy and outsourcing within the corporate and commercial market, banking, manufacturing and most recently public sector. I possess exceptional IT/IS strategic vision, combined with dynamic leadership ability and diverse multiple project/programme management experience and am recognised for utilising vigorous change management techniques to lead large ICT divisions of up 350 individuals, with budgets averaging £40 million, to achieve highly profitable and innovative results. Acknowledged for my capacity to build loyal business relationships, I consistently produce best-in-class results in strategic programme and project management and the delivery of both Oracle (e-Business) and SAP(R/3) ERP solutions. My expertise in business aligned IT architecture, IT infrastructure reviews, strategic contract management, business processes and new technology deployment are other facets to my skills base. As an experienced IT Director, with clear strategic vision, I am seeking to use my extensive skills base in an ICT Director or Chief Technical Officer role, within the commercial sector. KEY SKILLS • Exceptional knowledge and experience leading strategic IT service delivery for progressive business evolution • Dynamic leadership skills with the proven ability to consistently motivate and manage large ICT divisions of up 350 individuals and budgets averaging £40 million • Natural engineering capability and outstanding technical skills, combined with strategic vision • Open and driven attitude, with an expertise in developing productive commercial relationships with suppliers

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