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How CIO Hiring Affects IT Transformation

CIO Hiring

Does your chief information officer (CIO) hiring strategy tackle today’s top IT challenges? Despite pandemic-forced digital advances, a recent CIO study shows that 70% of organizations struggle to provide completely connected user experiences. Most organizations deal with a staggering 976 applications, and only 28% are interconnected. Data silos remain a challenge for 90%.

What’s the damage? On average, organizations can lose $7 million in revenue when they fail to reach their digital transformation initiatives. According to 88% of the surveyed CIOs and IT decision-makers, these integration challenges continue to slow digital transformation initiatives.

“In this all-digital world, customers and employees expect truly connected experiences,” said Brent Hayward, CEO of MuleSoft, the company that conducted the survey. “However, siloed applications and data continue to hinder customer experience and digital transformation — and it is now costing businesses millions of dollars per year. Companies need to be able to easily integrate a growing number of apps and data sources to automate their business, create seamless digital experiences, and drive growth.”

So what does CIO hiring have to do with these critical integration challenges?

“Everything,” says Paul McGaughan, Practice Director of The HT Group Technical Recruiting. “Integration has become a critical driver of business success. When we search for great CIO candidates these days, a big question they need to answer for nearly every organization in virtually every industry is, ‘How can you turn our mass of apps and switches and software into a unified solution that actually benefits the business?’”

It’s hard enough to recruit executives these days, but CIO hiring is particularly challenging. As TechRepublic points out, “The career path to becoming a CIO is not set or linear–most often, it is a long and winding road to the top.” What’s more, CIOs are expected to be highly experienced. A Hays report found that 31% of CIOs have 15-20 years of experience while 26% have 10-15 years of experience.

These decades of experience are necessary for honing planning, leadership, interpersonal, and change management skills. But experience isn’t inherently helpful in the fast-changing world of technology and digital transformation. Going back to the MulesSoft study and incorporating other recent research, today’s CIO needs to:

  • Have a firm handle on risk management and evolving security threats. About 37% of CIOs say it’s these areas that are slowing down their efforts.
  • Take accessibility issues seriously. Did you know that 11 lawsuits are filed every day in U.S. courts over website inaccessibility? As CIO discusses, websites these days must accommodate visual, auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical and speech disabilities. Ignoring these factors can have dramatic consequences.
  • Know where to spend and where to save. “In their efforts to integrate apps and data from across the enterprise, organizations appear to be focusing more resources in the wrong areas, such as custom integration,” MuleSoft points out.
  • Know how to harness the power of APIs to connect data and applications. Organizations that don’t have a clear integration and API strategy are in the minority (90% of organizations have embraced API strategy, and 40% have experienced revenue growth as a result).
  • Have a keen understanding of remote and hybrid work, taking what we learned during the pandemic and turning those lessons into a solid game plan for connectivity into the future. Organizations will never get away with not fully supporting remote work again.
  • Understand their evolving role in the c-suite. IBM found that CEOs think CIOs will be the most critical executives over the next few years. This growing influence comes with extreme responsibility and necessitates a good understanding of where their roles intersect and diverge from other tech executives, including CTOs and the more recently emerged CDO (chief digital officer).

Therefore, it’s essential to revamp how you look at CIO hiring. You may need to start with an IT audit or digital transformation assessment. An interim or fractional CIO may be useful to set a clear path and give you time to find the right permanent fit. Then, it’s vital to work with a tech recruiter who knows the value of and can find top CIO candidates with the characteristics above. The HT Group can you accomplish all three.