Tony Hai of Florida is a business centered CIO. In the following article, Hamy Anthony Hai highlights the importance of big-picture thinking to create a perspective that reflects the role’s expansion and ever-increasing demands.
CIOs have always faced the complex time management problem — juggling operational responsibilities and strategic opportunities is no small feat. But with the continuously rising demands these professionals experience, Tony Hai of Florida explains that this burden is becoming unmanageable for many around the world.
The Unpredictable Days of CIOs
Regardless of the company they work for, CIOs are always expected to split their time between duties that vary wildly every day. According to an interview of Ghada Ijam, the Federal Reserve System CIO, she spends 60% of her time on strategic planning and the remaining 40% on keeping operations running. But that’s on a good day.
Hamy Anthony Hai explains that chief information officers don’t have the luxury of predicting their days. Instead, they’re often responding to unexpected crises or events as and when they occur, foiling other plans they’ve constructed.
When incidents occur, Ijam explains that all her time goes into keeping operations afloat. It’s the basis of the job that many people aren’t aware of. But surprisingly to many, Ijam mentions that such executives fail to talk about either.
So Much Thinking, So Little Time
Tony Hai of Florida says that operational and strategic priorities require different thinking patterns, necessitating CIOs to wear many hats throughout the day.
With strategic priorities, Hamy Anthony Hai states that such professionals must think about more than everyday happenings. Instead, they must focus on the future, consider what’s coming down the line, and devise methods to handle oncoming crises.
As someone who has been in the role for many years, the Federal Reserve System’s CIO told CIO.com that shifting between the thinking gears is a juggling act itself, regardless of time.
And even though new strategic projects are brain-capturing and often highlighted by the organization, chief information officers can’t leave operational matters until a crisis rears its ugly head. Acknowledging and validating that within the wider company is imperative to balance duties successfully.
The CIO Time Split
Dr. Peter Weill, a senior research scientist at the MIT Sloan School of Management, explained that CIOs often split their time according to the following percentages:
- 40% technology function
- 25% colleague collaboration
- 17% business capabilities management beyond tech (like customer experience, ESG, and shared services)
- 18% working with external customers or partners
Tony Hai of Florida reiterates that these professionals spin many plates, and the expanding scope of the role requires more cerebral agility than before.
Experts state that only those with incredible flexibility levels will be able to handle the juggling act going forward. Challenges come from all directions, including macroeconomic pressures, competing organizational priorities, legacy mindsets, funding limits, the talent squeeze, and more, but Weill mentions there are opportunities within all this adversity.
According to Weill’s research, CIOs of businesses with the highest profits and growth spend double the amount of time managing complementary capabilities than companies not enjoying the fruits of large turnovers. The correlation allows top performers to maximize the value offered by technological advancements.
The Role Is Evolving – And So Must CIOs
Tony Hai of Florida says that industry insiders believe CIOs need to transform their mindsets as the job requirements shift from technical to organization and business management. Hamy Anthony Hai mentions that chief information officers of today are expected to be more like business executives with a technological background rather than just technologists.
Bolstering both business management and technology skills is essential for CIOs to bring the results their companies yearn for.
That said, it’s the technological background that will see chief information officers achieve the nimble, faster deliveries expected of them with only so many hours in the day.
In recent years, CEOs have increased investments in digital security, data analytics, and artificial intelligence, helping their CIOs do their job quicker to keep up with rising demands.
CIOs Are More Than Techies, They’re Transformation Business Partners
Technological business transformations and investments made by chief executive officers push the chief information officer role further than before into vision and strategic thinking according to Hamy Anthony Hai.
The role’s disruption means professionals must combine technical expertise with the business vision to transform the business practice in and around the organization, meeting the overarching outcomes as they go.
In today’s fast-paced world, Tony Hai of Florida says that CIOs spin many plates with very little time, requiring more hat-wearing than the traditional role demanded.