The role of the CIO is shifting, with many professionals being called to develop a blend of leadership, business, and technology skills to spearhead digital transformation efforts.
"There is no one CIO profile," Ansgar Schulte, a Gartner analyst on the CIO team, recently told TechRepublic. While CIOs traditionally have a background in either IT or business, Schulte said he's recently seen an increase in those taking the job from marketing, product development, and even HR.
"It's usually easier for a strong business leader to get a necessary understanding of the tech challenges and have some people on the leadership team helping to address those, than for a tech executive to acquire the non-technical competencies like strategy and governance," Schulte said.
In a shifting landscape, it's helpful to know what expertise companies are looking for when it comes to hiring a CIO. Indeed analyzed job postings for the CIO job title in the US, and determined which skills were most in demand for the role by the total percentage of postings that listed those skills in the past year.
SEE: IT leader's guide to achieving digital transformation (Tech Pro Research)
"More businesses are embracing digital. As a result CIOs have been tasked with developing the strategies and initiatives needed to successfully implement the digital transformation within their organizations," Paul Wolfe, Indeed's senior vice president and head of global human resources, told TechRepublic. "Given that responsibility, it comes as no surprise that we are seeing a mixture of leadership, business, and technology skills being reflected in the job postings for the role on Indeed."
Here are the top 10 most in-demand skills for CIOs, according to Indeed.
1. Project management
Project management professionals play a vital role in helping organizations meet strategic goals. A CIO with project management skills can help their IT team plan, execute, and monitor projects.
Businesses are increasingly turning to Agile project management for continuous improvement in development cycles. A CIO who is familiar with Agile can help their organization work more closely with customers and create the right project to satisfy their needs, as well as accelerate product performance and delivery.
3. Enterprise software development
Enterprise software is used by organizations for a variety of purposes, including managing assets, handling orders and customer relations, storing data in databases, and working with finances. CIOs with experience using and developing this type of software can help put their company at an advantage.
IT budgeting is a critical aspect of any IT leader's job. Some 83% of TechRepublic's CIO Jury members said that their IT budgets would stay the same or increase this year, potentially giving more room to leverage technology to meet business goals.
CIOs may be responsible for building out a tech team, which is an increasingly difficult task amid a talent shortage.
6. Business intelligence
As more companies are collecting and analyzing data, skills in business intelligence allow a CIO to help their company gain the most useful and actionable insights.
SAP's suite of enterprise software is popular among many companies, and CIOs that are familiar with its offerings like SAP HANA can help their companies best manage them.
VMware offers cloud computing and platform virtualization software and services used by many enterprises. Again, CIOs familiar with these services are in high demand from companies.
9. Data warehouse
As companies collect more and more data, it helps to have a CIO who understands data warehouse architectures to adequately store and access this information.
Microsoft Sharepoint is one of the most common tools used for enterprise-wide communication and collaboration. A CIO experienced with the platform can hit the ground running at many organizations.
A strong CIO candidate must have a large portfolio of skills to confront the challenges of enterprise digital transformation, said Gianni Giacomelli, business leader, digital solutions at global professional services firm Genpact.
"Project management, agility, and enterprise software development are more the engineering skills; today's CIOs must be more well-rounded in their abilities," Giacomelli said, with skills in design thinking, customer centricity, and data science. "They need to know about enterprise processes as a whole and what their company's customers want."
- Digital transformation: A CXO's guide (TechRepublic)
- Why CIOs have bigger IT budgets for 2018, and what they're buying (ZDNet)
- DevOps: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)
- What's really holding back today's CIO from digital transformation? (ZDNet)
- Why CIOs must step up to lead digital transformation efforts (TechRepublic)
Alison DeNisco Rayome has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.