For Aerospace CIOs, I is For Information and A Whole Lot More!

For Aerospace CIOs, I is For Information and A Whole Lot More!

The specific word represented by the center letter during a CXO job is usually well-established and hasn’t changed in years, often decades. CEO immediately brings to mind a company’s baron. Everyone acknowledges the COO is liable for operations and therefore the CFO manages the company’s finances.

But how about the “I” in CIO? Several years ago, the notion of the CIO because the Chief Integration Officer began making the rounds, and Ron Gurrier, CIO of Farmers Insurance, discussed the CIIIO (Information, Integration, and Inspiration Officer) in his article “From CIO to CIIIO-Being Chief Information Officer is not any Longer Enough.” But most CIOs, both inside and beyond the aerospace industry, have an entire bunch of “I’s” on which we'd like to focus, and an entire lot of eyes focused on us!

I is for Information – little question, the normal definition remains extremely important. CIOs are liable for ensuring customers can create, analyze, store, share, locate, exploit, and transform information. Protecting and preserving information will always be key accountability also.

I is for Innovation – As Chief Innovation Officers, we are constantly seeking the simplest thanks to improving organizational capabilities. Applied correctly, information technology may be a key force-multiplier for knowledge workers, and knowledge exchange typically fuels innovation. We’ve seen how technology and cloud computing can help engineers solve difficult problems at increasing scales. We’ve also seen how machine learning can find hidden correlations and make it easier for our customers to seek out the knowledge they have. Automation can eliminate manual work, reduce bureaucracy, and release staff to figure on more important and artistic problems.

I is for Infrastructure – We are in charge of the operation of hardware and software infrastructures, whether on-site or within the cloud: networks, servers, storage, applications, databases, mobile devices, and knowledge security. Beyond this, CIOs are in charge of ensuring this infrastructure is reliable, robust, and operates at enterprise scale—such that everything “just works” and our customers never need to believe these concerns. (In that sense, we also are Chief Invisibility Officers!)

I is for Identity – CIOs today own identity management for his or her organizations, which integrates all our services. Identity management is the key to security. We’re in charge of ensuring that we all know who is accessing our networks, systems, and data— and ensuring that everybody is who they assert they are! Identity management may be additionally how to enhance the user experience—the nirvana of universal single sign-on is a goal of each CIO and, like most things, tantalizingly just out of reach. Identity management also represents a chance to use personalization to tailor portals, dashboards, and search results to individual customers’ needs.

Most CIOs, both inside and beyond the aerospace industry, have an entire bunch of “I’s” on which we'd like to focus, and an entire lot of eyes focused on us  

I is for Ideas – a visit to the cafeteria is often a dangerous journey for Chief Idea Officers, who will likely be stopped multiple times by customers with great ideas on how we will apply IT to form our work environment better. Having a strong and well-defined demand management process for collecting, reviewing, and adjudicating these ideas allows our customers to be heard and ensures that it's being aware of the business. And, most significantly, it provides us with an area to direct our eager customers so we will grab our lunch before the subsequent meeting!

I is for Imagination and Ingenuity – CIOs need to think outside the box and to find out to mention "why not?" or “yes, if,” instead of “no, because" or “why." Not that we do not say "why" tons also, but with all the opposite “I’s” to think about, thinking outside the box is vital.

I is for Implementation – The Chief Implementation Officer is warmly embraced by all colleagues. Ideas, innovation, imagination, and creativity are all greatly valued, but the power to form things happen and implement trumps almost everything else. 

I is for Instrumentation – Chief Instrumentation Officers are taking advantage of the emerging “Internet of Things” that turns everything into a sensor then collects and exploits that data to imbrute measure, and analyze tasks and our working environment. However, we’re also in charge of balancing that with security and therefore the privacy of our customers.

I is for Integration – Sometimes, I desire I spend most of my time performing the role of Chief Integration Officer. Our IT services are powered by-products from dozens of vendors, but an honest user experience depends on integrating those products into cohesive, intuitive services. We also integrate cloud and third-party services into our on-premises infrastructure, integrate strategy with technology, integrate business requirements and business processes, integrate collaboration tools and business unit needs, and integrate information security into everything. And, most significantly, we are “people integrators,” balancing the requirements of the CEO or CFO with those of the CHRO, COO, and more.

I is for Initiative – As Chief Initiative Officers, we are liable for large, complex projects that span organizations, business areas, and stakeholder groups. Implementations of Enterprise Resource Planning or Customer Relationship Management systems are often multi-year, multi-million-dollar efforts and need a deep understanding of the business to customize and tailor these systems for operating during a company’s unique environment. As Chief Initiative Officers, we also are expected to require the initiative and teach our customers about the art of the possible, meaning we must anticipate their needs beforehand.

I is for Insight – As Chief Insight Officers, we’re expected to possess the insight to require what the business needs and choose which IT solutions can make that happen. We also are expected to harness the organization’s information and data to make the insight required by our customers to execute on their business needs. While we might not be the first “owners” or stewards of the info, we've unique access and skill to form powerful analyses and visualizations which will turn data into knowledge and supply decision-makers the insights they have to make decisions that matter for the business.

I is for Inspiration – As Ron Gurrier noted, the inspiring and empowering staff may be a key requirement for CIOs. In my organization, we specialize in the customer experience with a vision to become the partner of choice for all other corporate organizations in whatever efforts they undertake.

And then there are those times, and we’ve all had them, when nothing goes the way we’ve planned, another five corporate initiatives are being proposed, and we’re sure CIO stands for Chief Inadequate Officer. Fortunately, those days are few and much between!

The bottom lines, CIOs wear many hats and are expected to function focal points to enable our organizations to realize across numerous areas. You only might say the “I’s” have it!

Weekly Brief

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