CIOs are more business-savvy than ever. They don't have a choice. After all these years of struggling to align IT with the business and striving to meet the needs of business leaders and business unit employees, successful IT leaders find themselves working alongside their business peers, including fellow C-level executives.
Of course, I would be remiss not to mention that a growing number of CIOs have transitioned over from business roles in the last several years. Still, whether you're business leader-turned-CIO or a CIO who grew from within the IT organization, it's critical for IT leaders to find a way to stay on top of the latest technology trends, particularly as consumer electronics continue to invade the workplace and spread their influence.
Because CIOs are pulled in so many different directions and have to focus on the big picture, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to stay current on the latest technology developments. In larger organizations, many CIOs have CTO counterparts who oversee various aspects of the IT infrastructure, allowing CIOs to focus on business requirements. While the CTO serves as a technical advisor to the CIO in many respects, it's not the CTO's role to act as a sort of technical research assistant.
Some CIOs I know have developed a brain trust consisting of different types of people in different roles to help them stay current on technology directions. This often includes a handful of technically-oriented IT staffers they've come to know and rely on for such advice, especially younger IT workers who are close to the edge of what's happening in the technology landscape.
Other CIOs expand their inner circle of tech advisors to include industry analysts of IT/Business advisory firms their companies have contracts with that they've come to trust and/or respect. Savvy IT leaders also open their sphere of influence to friends and relatives in order to get a sense of the types of technologies that are resonating with consumers and how they're using such gadgets or the types of applications they might be looking for.
Who do you rely on as your sources for the latest in technology developments?