Matt Coatney, CTO, HBR Consulting
What was your first job?
Software engineer for an AI software startup in the pharmaceutical/drug discovery space (by far the most geek-cool job I’ve had!)
Does the conventional CIO role include responsibilities it should not hold? Should the role have additional responsibilities it does not currently include?
The challenge of the modern CIO is that you still must “keep the trains running on time” – ensuring that core systems like email, network, and infrastructure are rock solid and secure – but that is no longer enough by itself. That’s table stakes. The role is also increasingly looked to for advice and initiatives that transform the business through technology in areas like analytics, cloud, mobile, IoT, and the like. In mid-sized organizations especially, the CIO is looked to as the security, data, and innovation officer too, which requires intense focus and energy to balance all these plates.
What advice would you give to aspiring IT leaders?
Be non-traditional. Avoid the typical, predictable career ladder. Pick up special assignments and roles that stretch your comfort zone and give you experience in all sorts of different disciplines: cutting-edge technology, operations, security, finance, economics, law, etc. The future leader will need a wide range of skills – including the skill and passion of continuous learning – to keep up with the rapid acceleration of technology and the world of work.