Are other C-level executives qualified to take up the CIO role?

Panellists at the CIO Conference in Manila said CIOs need to be able to identify what the organisation should improve next and advice how to do so.

By Adrian M. Reodique
May 30, 2017

CIO Conference panel discussion
[From left to right]  Jubert Daniel Alberto, Head of Operations of IDC Philippines; Gerry Mauricio, Vice President for IT/ CIO of Eton Properties Philippines; Aida Yuvienco, CIO of Department of Education; and Christian Besler, Chief Digital Officer of Ayala Health.


Even though the roles in the C-suite are converging, wearing the CIO hat requires more than just technical skills.

This was the highlight of the panel discussion at the CIO Conference in Manila last Thursday (25 May 2017). It was participated by Aida Yuvienco, CIO of Department of Education (DepEd); Gerry Mauricio, Vice President for IT/ CIO of Eton Properties Philippines; and Christian Besler, Chief Digital Officer of Ayala Health.

"The reality is that CXOs will be the future CMOs, CDOs. CIOs have to the potential to move to COOs or CEOs in the same way because the [required] skill set is really about management," said Besler. He added that while some technical capabilities can be outsourced, CIOs must be able to identify the necessary improvements, resources, and skills that need to be leveraged to impact the organisation.

Likewise, Yuvienco noted that CIOs must also possess both logical and practical thinking skills, which are necessary in the strategic implementation of technologies. "[The CIO] should not just be a techie; he/she should also be practical because he/she cannot just apply technology anywhere. CIOs have to really think of practical ways of doing things. They don't really have to be highly technical [because some things can be] semi-automated, but it's important that they know how to apply technology at the right [place], at the right time," she said.

Meanwhile, the panellists believe customer engagement is an important area that CIOs must place more focus on. "Customer engagement is a very [important area]. We [need to] make sure we engage our customers, our clients, even our suppliers. Internally, [we need to engage] our management team and end users; [we've to] find ways to get [them more] productive and efficient [while] doing that in an interactive way," said Mauricio.

When it comes to engaging the management team, Mauricio explained that he makes them experience the technology first so that they can experience the benefits and 'sell' it to their teams. Besler added:"People usually get on board once they see the benefits [of the technology]. Once you make the benefits clear, people [will] easily  [switch to the new process or technology]."

Yuvienco added that any new technology deployed must facilitate the current workloads of the employees. "CIOs have to make sure that the system to be implemented will really benefit the user or the owner of the system. CIOs, especially in the government, need to ensure that the new processes will make their jobs easier, instead of more difficult."

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