These are the key strengths that the leading CIOs exhibited and were used as the criteria for the judgement of the CIO 100. The same strengths were used to assess the submissions by CIOs to the CIO 100.
1. Operational strength
Transformation cannot take place in organisations that do not have strong and reliable technology so that the CIO can focus on the transformation agenda. "IT operation is a very important thing" says Ade McCormack.
2. Driving change
CIOs should challenge the organisation to re-consider its processes and make better use of technology. Those CIOs clearly forcing the organisation to reconsider its operations were scored highly. "Are they people who have transformed the organisation and taken innovation to the board and created new ways of operating" says Jerry Fishenden.
3. Board influence
During the assessment of the CIO 100 it became clear that not all organisations have a board of directors or that the board of directors is always the right place for the CIO to be influencing, but influence on the top level of decision makers was seen as imperative by the CIO 100 judging panel. "What is important is that they are prepared to engage with conversations that are about understanding business strategy and being pro-active about turning those ideas into advice" says Neil Ward-Dutton.
4. Communications skills
Being a CIO is a leadership role and therefore a team leader. The panel felt that CIOs had to exhibit good communication skills to their teams, to the business and to the technology industry.
5. Vendor influence
With technology becoming commoditised the IT vendor community will have to shift its relationship with business and CIOs away from merely one of selling kit to a greater level of service and relationship. For IT vendors to complete this shift they will need take onboard the lessons CIOs can offer and the panel felt that the CIOs in the 100 should be judged on the influence they have on the vendor community as reflected through their sourcing.
The panel agreed that CIOs need to be the entrepreneur within organisations that can demonstrate new business models and opportunities that technology allow. "Entrepreneurship is a key train in a CIO, the question is how you create an internal charging model of having a profit mindset" says Mike Altendorf.
7. Vision – for both business and technology
The subservient CIO no longer has a place in today's economy and the panel felt that leading CIOs need to be visionaries, bursting with ideas for what an organisation could do, and also what technology can do. "The CIO will be at the front of the business doing innovative stuff that is needed to create competitive edge" says Richard Sykes.