One of the key benefits of being a member of a CIO community is that it can provide professionals with the opportunity to network and build relationships with people in the same industry.

Being a member of a CIO community can increase the CIO's credibility whilst also having an impact on their business. CIO UK takes a look at the benefits of joining a CIO community and how it can be effective in improving CIO performance. (Read next: 10 groups CIOs should join on LinkedIn.) 

Why a CIO should join a CIO community: Shared goals

CIOs have seen their old priorities declining, with nine out of the top 10 responsibilities having decreased in importance, according to Harvey NashA digital trend in 2017 has seen security, IoT and cloud skills being developed by CIOs. (See also: 2017 key industry trends for CIOs.) 

In such a demanding role it is beneficial for today's leaders to have the support of their peers from CIO community groups sharing the same passion for IT. Being part of such a community will give CIOs a chance to build relationships and share ideas about their increasing role in the business.  

A CIO's main focus in the business strategy is to share ideas on how they are developing an efficient platform for users through the use of digital products. Being part of a CIO community can help with this. 

Speaking at the CIO Summit CIO Kelly Olsen of NHS Property Services discussed why attending the summit was a great chance to network with fellow CIOs.

Olsen said: "Everyone in the CIO community is unique, with everyone being really open and sharing ideas. We have all got the same pressures and challenges so sharing and learning something from fellow CIOs  is really useful."

CIO community groups are a great chance to discuss current projects, share insight on digital trends and the future of the organisation.

Why a CIO should join a CIO community: Contribute to your industry

An increasing demand for technology, from the business and its customers, has seen CIOs exploring new ways to contribute to their industry.

CIO communities are a great chance for digital leaders to share their knowledge, skills and experiences with fellow members as a way to tackle industry concerns.

Community group presentations, round table discussions and meetings are a way to debate topics and network with fellow members while demonstrating their expertise in the industry field.

Contributing to a community group can make CIOs feel valued in their role while also developing their leadership skills through passing on useful information to their peers. 

Why a CIO should join a CIO community: Shifting priorities

The evolution of the CIO will see priorities such as customer engagement, security and emerging technologies being the main focus for a business strategy.

Dealing with new and shifting priorities can increase the creativity between members of the community through sharing ideas on how their organisations are responding to changes in technology.

According to Harvey Nash, customer engagement was the only priority to increase by 15% in a CIO's responsibilities. Being active in a creative community will help with CIOs to experiment and develop new ways to keep customers engaged.

CIOs are all working towards the same goal in enhancing the business and boosting profits. Networking opportunities in a CIO community will help CIOs to build better business relationships with clients, peers and executives. (Read next: Which technologies are making a CIO's workload lighter.)  

Why a CIO should join a CIO community: Behaviour and attitude

A positive attitude can drive engagement and help increase member contributions within a community group.

Often, networking can be time-consuming, but time spent building relationships and making your profile known can lead to better business opportunities for a CIO.

While a CIO should remain focused on the challenges, values and opportunities they face as digital leaders, sharing experiences can help provide support to fellow community members. For today's CIOs it can be a chance to build trust and relationships with members by following through on commitments and helping to deliver goals.

Why a CIO should join a CIO community: Building the business profile

The smaller the community the more effective the group will be. A smaller group will give the opportunity for CIOs to voice their ideas.

As a contributing member, the CIO's credibility will help increase the professional profile of the brand. The business can benefit from the CIO community in recommending your product or service to a particular industry.

CIO Lucy Burrow of the University of Nottingham is part of the Russell IT Directors' Community. The university has recently transitioned from a public to a private cloud in helping to manage the functionality for its users.

Speaking to CIO UK, Burrow discussed the benefits of joining a CIO community and how it has impacted on the organisation with the recent implementation of cloud.

She said: "We as a group are really able to influence the direction of the organisation. I think this is something particularly important and useful for me in how CIOs and businesses are working with particular suppliers.

She continued: "It's how CIO members are making the best use of technologies and how we can learn from each other in asking advice which is very positive to be part of the group."

Each member of the community will have different skills and expertise as a CIO. The group will give the CIO a chance to identify the business clients they are working with which can be relevant to the company. (Read next: How to build brand awareness.) 

Why a CIO should join a CIO community: Make new contacts

Expanding your contact base for a CIO is one of the main reasons for joining a community group as it can be a way to interact and communicate with your fellow peers.

Industry experts and professionals can build relationships between members while also forging new opportunities for CIOs. Becoming part of different community groups whether physical or online will make your CIO profile known and help build credibility for the business. This can be useful for CIOs in making investments, client recommendations and for bringing new customers to the business.

While adding value to the business remains significant for CIOs today, network groups can help develop a CIO's leadership skills, and CIO columnist Matt Ballantine sees events such as the CIO 100 and other community groups as a great way to expand your contact base by networking with relevant people in the industry. (See also: 10 groups CIOs should join on LinkedIn.) 

"The strength of the network across the CIO community is a big part of their ability [for digital leaders] to do their jobs well," he said. "The key skills for the 21st century are to manage that and to network...not only do salespeople need to do this but everyone in the organisation needs to be on top of how they are keeping their network strong and their ability of finding new ways to do this."”

Ballantine shares his advice with starting CIOs and says networking outside of the organisation can help build a strong support base.

"For CIOs this can help them understand the business and its customers better, with events like the CIO Summit and other community groups," he said. "It's good to see how others work while also building a relationship with them which can lead to further business opportunities."

Joining community groups are social opportunities for CIOs to gain insight and keep up to date with relevant industry news. This can be a way of increasing a CIO's confidence, spark ideas and help add credibility to a Chief Information Officer's role today. (See also: How CIOs should use LinkedIn:14 tips for all executives using LinkedIn.) 

Why a CIO should join a CIO community: Seek new job opportunities

As the role of Chief Information Officer becomes more prominent in business today, 15% of CIOs are expected to change job roles in the 12 months, according to research from Harvey Nash.

Networking and expanding your contact base can open a CIO up to new opportunities on the job market.

Through communicating with fellow members you are actively seeking a new position to push yourself against other candidates in the role.

While in-depth research is key for preparing for a new job role, CIO communities offer inside knowledge and can be a great way to get an understanding of the business, its customers and their employees during the initial interview process.

The benefits of joining a community group are endless. While it can help a CIO to feel engaged and valued in their roles, it can also make them visible to businesses today.

Why a CIO should join a CIO community: Developing skills

CIOs can increase their leadership and creativity skills by sharing ideas and getting feedback from the community.

The group can share IT experiences they have had and offer advice and relevant information to help fellow CIOs.

CIO groups can stay informed on digital trends and while also sharing business challenges they are currently facing and how they are working to overcome them. A CIO's capability will increase in gaining knowledge and an insight into fellow sectors they would not normally interact with.

The value of the community will help increase a CIO's confidence in pitching new ideas to their executives.

A CIO's presentation to the board can include reports and feedback from focus groups from members of the CIO community.

The benefits of joining a CIO community will increase the credibility of the CIO and their business. The CIO can share ideas and build relationships with members of the same industry while developing their leadership skills of how they can influence their organisation with future business opportunities. (Read next: 7 skills CIOs need on their CVs.)