Top 5 Hidden Risks for CIOs

The media is awash with stories of advanced persistent threats and privacy breaches, but at least they’re well understood. For many CIOs, the really disturbing risks may be the ones that aren’t as obvious.

Real Times asks several experts about the hidden risks that should be keeping CIOs up at night.

1. Running before you can walk

CIOs can be transformational, and they can be operational, but it’s not always easy to be both, warns Chris Moore. Moore, formerly CIO at the City of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada, now heads up AcuitasGov, a consulting firm for open government technology practices.

Many organizations don’t want the status quo, he points out. They want IT to bring new innovations to bear. “You end up with this dynamic of push and pull tension within organizations that want to do new, transformational things, but at the same time you have to balance the operational side,” he warns.

Visionary CEOs often have COOs to handle the operational side, leaving them to concentrate on strategy. Many CIOs don’t have that luxury. Not managing both sides of the job can risk divisional performance, and respect.

The trick for CIOs is to balance the visionary aspect of the job with the mundane tasks of keeping the engine running. It takes experience to do both. “If the CIO doesn’t keep that in balance, then it can create the perception that you want to do transformational things but aren’t interested in the operational,” he warns.

2. Not running at all

The inverse of running before you can walk is not running at all, warns Huw Morgan, VP of CIO Research at Canadian technology advisory and market research firm Info-Tech Research. That’s an equally troubling risk.

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