What do tech executives from the financial realm, the entertainment industry, government sectors, construction companies, and so on, all have in common?
For starters, they’re all up to their noses in work.
At a surface level, this is generally the case, especially considering all the evolving responsibilities that CIOs, CTOs, CISOs, Directors and VPs/SVPs of IT have taken on in the past decade. As most know and have discussed, the demands of IT are much broader, much more business-centered, and much more time-sensitive.
However, on a granular level, there’s also much more to be said about the similarities IT executives share in their day-to-day workloads and challenges they face.
That said, as a fellow IT leader, here are a few reasons why you should take advantage of discussing organizational and IT strategies with folks outside your industry:
Diversifies your perspective and approach.
As Lilian Coral, Chief Data Officer for the City of Los Angeles puts it: “I think it’s true for all of us that we can get stuck in our organizations and the weeds of the day-to-day that we don’t get a moment to think through with other thought leaders on how to tackle the same problem in different ways.”
Managing data for flexibility, accessibility, and timeliness; expectations of security; cultural challenges; for the most part, executives across industries share these issues in common. “We all think we’re trying to solve challenges differently because our industries are different,” explains Coral, “but actually a lot of the solutions are similar so there’s a lot to learn from each other.”
Expands your network.
Having a varied, diverse network is a valuable tool to have. Not only does it help you avoid systematic situations of negative groupthink, but making outside-industry connections can encourage breaking out of your comfort zone. Harvard Business Review says that companies that strive for more diverse relationships amid professional networks can also see an increased financial performance.
Networking with different industries also provides you with a wider net of resources. People who’ve went through similar phases you’re currently experiencing could potentially give you much-needed advice and insight. In some cases, wider networks can also provide opportunities for taking on or getting into a new sector of clientele.
Helps to create a more universal understanding of ‘information activism.’
The technology-driven business arena continuously calls upon its IT leaders to stay on their toes, educating and innovating wherever and whenever they can. Coral explains in the data space executives use the word “evangelizing” in attempt to inspire people to become “data converts.” However, she explains that “The phrase ‘information activist’ really helps us to understand that information (we all know this, but really seeing it in practice) is a key to making our businesses and services more dynamic and more modern.”
Conversations surrounding change in technology help this. Becoming an activist alongside your peers for implementing quality strategies helps this. It brings understanding how information is used directly to the table, and provides insight on a broader scale.
While these reasons are extremely practical, as mentioned before, finding the time to develop relationships outside your industry sometimes feels near impossible. (Especially when you’re up to your nose in work.)
Luckily, at NCS Madison, our CIO Strategy Meetings create an environment completely conducive to networking with peers across varying industries. The event format is drastically different from a traditional conference setting; attendees come to mainly participate in group discussions, sharing ideas and experiences on a variety of important topics with each other.
Thus, in this atmosphere, CIOs, CTOs, SVPs and VPs of Information Technology, etc. throughout the business world can gather and make productive connections, expand their network and perspective, and contribute to broader conversations of “information activism.”