Information Age spoke to the CIO of The Bank of England – Rob Elsey – at today’s Cyber Security Challenge UK (a UK non-profit organisation that’s dedicated to identifying, inspiring and enabling the next generation of cyber security talent through a series of face-to-face challenges and competitions) about the qualities needed to be a successful CIO in this modern, technology-driven business environment.
“I think in the modern world a lot of what it means to be a CIO surrounds leadership. Being able to translate complex things to a wider audience is crucial,” said Elsey.
“As things get more technical, like cyber and technology, you need to be able to explain in a really simple way that makes business sense to the board.”
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That personal side is important. “Trying to inspire people and get them into the organisation, getting them fired up about technology, making them feel like they can move around, looking at skills, management and those kind of things, will make any CIO’s job easier. You need to be able to take people with you.”
Commercial experience is also necessary, continued Elsey. “By that I mean, you need to be able to develop expertise across different areas, when dealing with third parties.”
“You can’t do a £20 million vendor contract, and have them pull the wool over your eyes when you’re doing a negotiation. So, you need to maintain some level of experience, and you can gain that through lots of different ways.”
“You can’t just sit there and try and do everything, you don’t have an infinite amount of money and you don’t have an infinite number of people, so you have to be good at being able to prioritise what’s important for the organisation and really invest in it.”
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“Budget, people and communication are the big things. And obviously an interest in technology helps, being aware of the things that are happening on the horizon, how it could help improve the business, looking at everything from a slightly different angle to everyone else.”
“If your in a business that’s primary concern is customer experience, and it’s around automation, getting those technology building blocks in place is really important.”
Finally, “a CIO needs to think about things from an outcomes perspective – not just tech for tech’s sake – and what are we trying to achieve with the technology: how is going to make things better?”
“Those are the key qualities you need to have nowadays.”