Crashed rocket

The Chief Integration Officer as the New CIO

If I had a dollar for every mistake I made in my first 3 months as a CIO for a startup built to sell…

Traditionally, chief information officers (CIOs) are responsible for technology. But with technology being at the core of several key business processes, the role of the CIO has changed. In fact, 84% of CIOs report handling responsibilities that fall outside of the scope of traditional IT, and more organizations are hiring a chief integration officer rather than a chief information officer.

The chief integration officer is an emerging role. In this position, you have the potential to shape the future of your organization. However, there are three common mistakes you need to avoid.

1. Mismanaging the money

In some cases, the CIO’s duties include managing finances. To best handle this area, there are a few items to remember:

  • Don’t choose the easiest accounting method, choose the best method for the company at the time. Cash basis accounting is simpler and allows you to focus on immediate revenues and expenses. However, accrual accounting paints a more accurate picture by taking your upcoming cash flow and expenses into consideration.
  • Use data. With modern analytics solutions, it’s possible to build predictive models that uncover trends in revenues and expenses.
  • Don’t overlook unnecessary expenses. As a CIO, you’re in a unique position to study what different systems and teams do. You can cut costs by looking for duplicates and consolidating redundant systems.

2. Failing to plan for a dynamic environment

Doing things by the book can limit your ability to react to a situation that changes quickly. To succeed in this role, CIOs need to know when to ditch the old habits.

With that being said, models and frameworks do have some benefits, but remember that things can change drastically on short notice. Be prepared to make decisions on a daily basis, and don’t expect to follow a plan you established months in advance.

If there is one constant you should strive for, it’s building a culture of accountability. You’ll get better results if everyone feels personally responsible for achieving business goals. Plus, integrity and trust can boost the value of the business.

In short, create contingency plans and expect things to go sideways all the time. The old adage that “failing to plan is planning to fail” holds true here, but your plans have to be agile and adaptive.

3. Trying to make everyone happy

The role of the integrator sometimes clashes with the ideas of the visionary who founded the business. However, you can’t achieve growth by making everyone happy.

As a chief integration officer, you have a goal to achieve. Whether you need a better financial position for a successful IPO or want to attract buyers, you’ll have to make some compromises. You’ll have to oppose some projects and make difficult decisions.

After all, your role is to create a synergy between the different teams and departments of the business. You have to constantly push for growth and cut costs, even when others don’t like it.

Other considerations to remember include:

  • You can build a company that is financially strong by focusing on the top line. While others might want to prioritize the bottom line, your focus should be on gross sales. With more sales, the valuation will be higher.
  • Some decisions might seem counterintuitive. You might, for instance, have to turn down some opportunities that might be too risky in favor of sound strategies that will boost the value of the business.

The rise of the chief integration officer

We’re seeing an emerging model where the founder plays the role of the visionary and brings a CIO on board to act as an integrator. This model gives the CIO the important task of focusing on top-line growth, designing successful processes and building a business that is financially sound. By avoiding these three common mistakes, you can achieve your goals for the betterment of the business.

by: Lucien Campillo, Chief Integration Officer

About Lucien: Local Tampa guy who spent most of his adult life in the US Army and returned home. He retired from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel with a passion to help his fellow Veterans as an active member in the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Tampa Bay Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Association. He has lived all over the world and actually settled down in Hawaii but the draw of Tampa and the Bucs lured him home. He joined the Solution Publishing gang to be on the leading edge of the B2B data transformation.