How IT Managers Work With Their CIO

by drjim on October 6, 2011

Image Credit Presenting To The CIO Is A Big Step For IT Managers

Presenting To The CIO Is A Big Step For IT Managers

Congratulations IT Manager – you’ve been asked to make a presentation to your company’s CIO. Oh, oh. What are you going to have to do in order to make your career move forward due to this opportunity and not screw it up?

What Does A CIO Of Directors Want From A IT Manager?

Let’s make sure that we’re all on board here – do you really understand what the CIO does for the company? Although the CIO is in charge of the IT department, he or she is really responsible for making IT a company asset, not so much about the day-to-day working of the technology side of IT.

Although the CIO does understand the importance of information technology, they really don’t care about the nitty-gritty details that everyone in their department works on every day – they have much bigger things to worry about. That means that you are going to have present the information that they have requested very carefully.

Arthur Langer has done some research in this area and he has the following four recommendations for how IT Managers should present information to their CIO:

  1. New Ideas: IT Managers need to understand why they have been asked to make a presentation to the CIO. The CIO is not interested in what you spend most of your time worrying about – budget details, hiring issues, etc. Instead, his or her focus is on the IT department as a whole and they want to hear from you what you can do to help the department help out the rest of the company. This can include how your team can help out with ongoing operations as well as what you can do more strategically.
  2. Security: Every presentation that a IT Manager makes to the CIO needs to touch on the topic of information security. Remember, they don’t care about the details. Instead, what they want to hear from you is what you are doing to protect the company against risks and what you are doing to ensure that the company’s confidential information won’t get stolen.
  3. Data: If there is one thing that is keeping your CIO up at night, it’s worrying about all of that data that your company is sitting on. As the IT Manager, they see you as being responsible for keeping track of all of this data. That also means that you are viewed as acting as the point-of-contact if the company gets sued and one of those e-discovery programs has to be conducted.
  4. Analytics: Since the CIO sees the IT Manager as being in charge of all of the data that your team collects, they also see you as being responsible for finding ways to get the most out of that data. This means that you need to be ready to tell them how you plan on going about doing this.

How Can You Prepare For A CIO Presentation?

Being invited to make a presentation to your company’s CIO is a great honor. Now you’re going to have to ensure that you make the most of this opportunity. That means, sorry about this, you’re going to have to do some homework.

Here are four things that every IT Manager needs to do both before and during their presentation to the CIO:

  1. Know Your Audience: You should do this before every presentation, and presenting to your CIO is no different. You need to understand the personalities of the CIO. What is their background? What is their reputation within the company? What do other people who have presented to them have to say about them?
  2. Make Friends: How the presentation is going to turn out is often determined before it starts. If you can make contact with the CIO before the day of the presentation and ask them questions, then you will have a chance to have an ally in your corner on the day of your presentation.
  3. Time Counts: When you were told how much time you had for your presentation, the person who told it to you was lying. The way that these things work out is that you never get as much time as you were told, or even as much as you ended up being allocated. The CIO will hate you forever if you run over your allocated time and will love you forever if you finish up early. Always show up with multiple version of your presentation so that you can fit into smaller and smaller time periods.
  4. Use Stories: As one of the company’s IT Managers you have a great deal of sophisticated knowledge about all things related to the IT sector and how they work. Don’t share this during your presentation. Instead, keep things simple and use stories to make you points – this is what the CIO will be able to remember.

What All Of This Means For You

The definition of information technology is that it is how a company uses computers to become more successful. As one of the company’s IT Managers, it’s your job to make this happen. When your CIO summons you to present to them, you need to understand both what they are interested in and what they don’t want you to talk about.

When you are preparing for your presentation you’ll want to focus on what the CIO wants hear: how your IT team can help to grow the company, data security, data management, and how best to use the data that the company has. Additionally you’ll need to do your homework in order to prepare for your big presentation.

We talk a lot about finding ways to get the IT Manager a “seat at the table” when it comes to working with other departments. Being asked to present to your CIO is a fantastic opportunity for an IT Manager to make a name for himself or herself. Make sure that you take the time to prepare for this presentation and you’ll see your career take off…

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that you should prepare a separate handout for your presentation to the CIO?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As an IT manager, your time is spent keeping projects and teams on track. You wouldn’t think that something like strategy would be part of your job at this stage of your career. I mean, that strategy stuff is what the big boys in IT spend their days worrying about right? Hmm, if you don’t start thinking about how to both come up with and execute a strategy now, how are you going to develop these management skills later on? Let’s see if we can show you what you need to be doing with strategy right now…

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