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CIO at the Crossroads of Technology and Business

By Walter Yosafat, SVP & Global CIO, Wyndham Worldwide [NYSE:WYN]

Walter Yosafat, SVP & Global CIO, Wyndham Worldwide [NYSE:WYN]

Today, the role of a CIO has greatly evolved, where the CIO is no longer confined to mastering technology, but is expected to be a true business leader. A typical CIO has to tackle challenges in product experience, market growth, and play a crucial role in the business decision-making process. As Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) have come to the fore, the CIO is being perceived as an enabler of automation and service delivery in the pursuit of quality improvement.

Often times, business leaders who have experience and expertise in IT are promoted to the roles of CEOs or COOs. It is widely recognized that CIOs resolve problems in varied verticals and possess adequate skills to untangle other puzzles, thus businesses choose CIOs to drive customer and vendor engagement and expect them to solve all kinds of problems.

CIOs Contribute to the Overall Progress

As IT leaders, CIOs partner with heads of different functional units within their organizations. Usually, IT personnel— who report to the CIO—perform multiple tasks simultaneously and the function scales up from merely being an order-processing unit to becoming a key participant in the business decision-making process. In the IT domain, accountability retains immense value and on-time accurate project delivery bears great significance. However, businesses cannot confine IT to only service delivery. IT is capable of introducing innovative ideas and practices in the gamut of business verticals and various business partners can benefit from the guidance of IT departments.

"Businesses choose CIOs to drive customer and vendor engagement and expect them to solve all kinds of problems"

Data Security and Analytics: The Two Sides to a Coin

Today, “Information Security” is has become a catchphrase that creates a buzz from the backend office to boardrooms. With the introduction of each new technology, unprecedented issues and problems emerge. In tandem with the modern technologies, novel processes and advanced threats also surface. IT leadership has to adopt newfangled tools and technologies to deal with the torrent of the cybersecurity threats. Wyndham has been awarded for building an advanced security threat team.

Data analytics tools, on the other hand, are equally important for a CIO as they are at the core of any business. Quality, speed, and accuracy hold a great value in the business decision-making process. Tools and processes that deliver quality data are of the utmost importance for today’s business leaders. The right data is a key to right results.

Today, sharing inventories and key information have become simplified tasks, thanks to the advent of modern-day technologies. Instead of revision, change, and upgrade of all systems, these technologies facilitate changes in a seamless fashion. So far, technological barriers have been removed and zeroing in on the right offerings, pooling the data, and updating the inventories have become much simpler.

Mobility stands out amidst the group of technologies as it brings information at the user’s fingertips. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be another game changer that will impact our lives. Based on data, AI will suggest appropriate actions to be taken and give fillip to productivity. Let us draw an analogy between technologies and our body. If other technologies form the rest of the body organs, then good data is like the blood that helps the organs to function properly. All these technologies empower us to execute a gamut of activities that range from time share to facilitating a cruise travel.

More Frontiers to be Won by a CIO

CIO as an IT leader must be open to accepting challenges. Be the person that can be counted on. The ones who aspire to be CIOs of the future must be flexible in order to tap opportunities and gain new learning and growth experience. Even though the opportunity might not be within the context of IT, one should be open to exploring new avenues.

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