4 ways CIOs can drive revenue growth

Leverage these smart strategies to take on the role of a revenue-generating CIO.

CIOs are no longer just ‘technologists’. They are business enablers and have a crucial role to play in helping businesses gain a competitive advantage by driving innovation, creating better customer engagement, and using technology strategies to generate revenue. Companies are increasingly looking to CIOs and IT departments to create innovative, new projects that generate more revenue. So how can a CIO do this? A recent report from the Harvard Business Review (titled ‘Revenue-Generating CIOs: Smart Strategies to Grow the Business’) provides a few strategies that CIOs can embrace.

1. Adopt a product mentality
According to this report, revenue-generating CIOs encourage their teams to shift from a project mentality. They help their teams embrace a product mentality where they’re responsible for managing everything from product development to delivery. This includes taking ownership, and therefore accountability, of the entire life cycle of a product, which goes beyond the usual outline of project delivery. It also means a sharper focus on user experience, and therefore a more design thinking approaching, as this ultimately decides the brand’s perception.

2. Increase the speed of development and delivery
Technology is advancing at a rapid pace heightening and driving customers’ expectations. Faster product development and delivery is the need of the hour. The report says this has led to the growing adoption of the minimum viable product (MVP) mentality among CIOs. The idea is to quickly create a MVP, give it to users, take in their feedback and then tinker with it till you have the best version. This sort of the mentality can also be used by CIOs to internally sell new ideas. For example, by demonstrating a working prototype to explain a product idea rather than using spreadsheets and presentations. The MVP mentality results in the creation of smaller, diverse innovation teams or centres to increase speed and collaboration, along with the adoption of agile software development methods.

3. Hire, develop, and retain exceptional tech talent
When hiring, CIOs need to look for and hire IT professionals with a broader range of skills, not just tech skills. They need team members who can wear multiple hats and have the right competencies (like leadership, accountability, and customer focus) required to be a part of agile, cross-functional teams that work closely with customers as well as business colleagues. To draw in this talent CIOs need to emphasise their company’s technical prowess, its vision, and the impact (positive) it will have on the new hire’s life. Once you’ve got these stellar hires, CIOs need to work equally hard to retain them. Creating a rewarding environment (both professionally and emotionally), providing challenges for growth, and opportunities for advancement are just some of the ways to do that.

4. Collaborate deeply
Companies undergoing digital transformation often require CIOs to work very closely with other digital officers and business leaders so as to find innovative ways to leverage IT to meet business goals and drive benefits. It’s key to form partnerships with other leaders within the organisation and use technology to help them achieve their goals, to provide support wherever needed and work in collaboration so that the company benefits as a whole.

Photograph: Creativeart/ 

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