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The New Face of the CIO: 7 Core Traits


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A new breed of CIOs are emerging. Wearing many hats, the job of the modern CIO has become increasingly complex, as technology continues to leak its way into finance, operations, marketing and nearly every other division. From their prior roles as back-office, data-processing geeks, they’ve morphed into the driving force behind the implementation of technology and innovation—a critical foundation to today’s digital enterprise. 

A recent Harvard Business Review survey of 750 business executives found that 41% look to the CIO to lead their company's digital transformation. In contrast, just 20% think the CEO could do that job. 

So what traits do the CIOs of tomorrow need in order to get the job done and do it well?  

7 Key Traits of the Modern CIO

1. Innovator

Not only do today's chief information officers need to bring new ideas to table—they must leverage insight and experience from other IT executives who have addressed similar problems and opportunities. Using proven methods, tools and techniques along with new ones doesn’t just keep the lights on—it helps the business grow. 

2. Combination Leader + Tech Guru

Today’s CIOs aren’t only great leaders, they’re tech gurus too. In an environment where business needs change almost as quickly as technology, a chief information officer has to stay a few steps ahead of technology and business trends alike.

3. Communicator

Not only do leaders need to be able to work with staff to make sure their goals are met, they need to be able to communicate with team members. Translating the capabilities of complex technology to end-users, communication skills can make or break the career of any leader, especially the CIOs.

4. Cross Functional

New CIOs need to understand the growing technology needs of each department, so that they can deliver solutions that achieve synergies (ugh that word.) CIOs of the future will be responsible for integrating technology across marketing, sales, HR, operations and other departments to create highly accessible information that travels at the speed of innovation.

5. Big Picture

A growing reliance on the CIO to make strategic decisions requires a shift in the way they are groomed to make decisions. No longer is hands-on experience the ultimate skill - an increasing focus on strategic management, innovation and leadership are required traits. 

6. Analytical

With so much new data being created, transferred and crunched daily, new CIOs must be able to sort the wheat from the chaffe. All IT initiatives should be driven by key metrics and analytics transformed into actionable business insights for the C-Suite. 

7. Nimble

Technological innovation is accelerating at an exponential rate, and corporate IT infrastructure cannot afford to be stagnant. CIOs must increasingly learn how to make micro-pivots in order to scale existing systems to meet the ever-changing needs of the market. 


Defining the role of the new CIO is challenging and will continue to transform in the coming years. As CIOs shift their role to more strategic, big picture roles, they need more hands-on experts to transform their visions into actions. 

At DIO-soft, we become an extension of your IT team, helping to implement, manage and guide your IT projects from concept to completion. Our experience with big data and complex IT systems offers a low-cost, high value outsourced solution for corporate IT teams led by the new breed of CIOs. Contact us today to see how DIO-soft can help transform your organization’s IT into a cross-functional, analytic and nimble organization.