The Business of IT Blog

10 Great Books for CIOs

6 minute read
Muhammad Raza

CIOs lead organizational transformation initiatives driven by IT. Effective leadership infused with understanding of technology can help organizations steer past the competition and unlock unprecedented business opportunities. To achieve these goals, CIOs must keep themselves informed through regular reading of the most insightful content and literature published in recent years.

(This article is part of our Tech Books & Talks Guide. Use the right-hand menu to navigate.)

Here’s a list of 10 great books for CIOs:

1. The CIO Paradox: Battling the Contradictions of IT Leadership

Target Audience: CIOs and IT executives.

Summary: Successful CIOs understand how to make difficult decisions around technology, business and resources, thereby establishing a balance between different aspects of the business. In doing so, CIOs may face questions and situations that appear paradoxical in nature. This book explores these questions around three key areas: the role of the CIO, their stakeholders and their staff. The book explores issues such as cutting cost versus investing in innovation, running operations versus devising strategy, futuristic versus archivist approach to technology, and accountability versus ownership, among other paradoxes. The book helps CIOs weigh their options and understand the implications of their decisions in rea-world circumstances based on the prevalent paradoxical conditions experienced in many enterprise organizations today.

About the Author: Martha Heller, a prominent influencer in the IT leadership segment. She is the founder of the CIO magazine and serves as a president of the Heller Search Associates, an organization specializing on IT leadership positions.

More details here.

2. The DevOps Handbook: How to Create World-Class Agility, Reliability, and Security in Technology Organizations

Target Audience: DevOps professionals and IT executives.

Summary: The authors describe in detail the reasons behind DevOps and how it drives success in leading enterprise IT organizations. The book describes the implementation of DevOps principles using 40 case studies from organizations such as Etsy, Google and Facebook. The book provides a guideline on getting started with DevOps SDLC strategies as seen in complex enterprise IT environments. The author also discusses a range of common challenging facing these organizations as they evolve their IT as DevOps-centric organizations. The book is based on over 25,000 data points collected over 5 years of research and is regarded as one of the masterpieces in the DevOps industry.

About the Authors: Gene Kim, Jez Humble, Patrick Debois and John Willis. Pioneers and influencers in the DevOps industry that have transformed years of experience and knowledge form software organizations into actionable guidance for IT leaders pursuing the DevOps methodology.

More details here.

3. The Digital Transformation Playbook: Rethink Your Business for the Digital Age

Target Audience: Business and IT leaders looking to understand the digital transformation in the modern business organization.

Summary: The book provides a contrast between business practices and decision making in organizations before and after the prevalence of Internet or digital technologies. The resource describes how organizations can leverage data as a strategic asset; how innovation is introduced on a small scale and expanded rapidly and the importance of agility and adaptability. The book guides on harnessing customers, competition, platforms and data to innovate and disrupt the industry by leveraging new business models. The playbook works as a step by step guide for pre-digital era companies to transform into technology leaders in the modern business segment.

About the Author: David L. Rogers, faculty director at Columbia Business School and advisor to leading enterprises including Google, Toyota and GE, among others.

More details here.

4. The Digital Matrix: New Rules for Business Transformation Through Technology

Target Audience: CIOs and business executives

Summary: The book highlights the issue that many legacy organizations operate on antiquated operational models and therefore fail to compete against agile and innovative startup firms. The book helps leaders at these organizations to understand what kind of players are leading the business landscape, the transformation phases legacy organizations must undergo to follow the trajectory to digital transformation and definitive strategic practices that will ensure long-term business success in the digital era. The book is about capturing the value of human talent, machines and new ideas to prepare for a successful digital future.

About the Author: Venkat Venkatraman is the Professor of Management at Boston University Questrom School of Business. He has previously taught at MIT Sloan School of Management and London Business School, and earned awards such as IBM Faculty Fellowship for his contributions.

More details here.

5. Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future

Target Audience: Business executives, IT leaders and managers.

Summary: The book outlines the challenges and opportunities associated with the science fiction technologies that are now coming closer to reality. The speed and scope of these technology changes is impacting every business organization and CIOs must understand the underlying principles to take advantage of these technologies. The technology trends are presented as an interesting read that a wide variety of audience can enjoy, and yet hold unprecedented value for CIOs making critical decisions in their organization.

About the Authors: Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist at MIT, and Erik Brynjolfsson is the director of the MIT Center for Digital Business, a leading scholar in the domain of information systems and economics.

More details here.

6. Lean Enterprise: How High Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale

Target Audience: IT executives, CIOs and IT professionals.

Summary: The book allows readers to understand the driving forces of innovation in technology companies. The guideline uses case studies in describing how to apply Lean and Agile principles to accelerate the rate of innovation in the right direction. The book looks at implementation challenges associated with DevOps and Lean Startup movements and provides a problem solving approach to address these challenges. As a result, CIOs can help evaluate the risks, explore uncertainties to identify opportunities, identify value streams in areas of high product/market fit and sustain the progress through principles of continuous improvement as discussed in the book.

About the Authors: Jez Humble, Joanne Molesky, and Barry O’Reilly, influencers and leaders in the DevOps, digital transformation and enterprise software industry.

More details here.

7. Hacking Exposed 7: Network Security Secrets and Solutions

Target Audience: IT professionals, technology users, business executives and decision makers, IT executives.

Summary: While hacking practices have increases in sophistication in recent years, CIOs must understand the practical fundamentals on cybersecurity. This book explores in great detail the different types of security challenges facing business organizations, the basic threat vectors and hacking practices, and solutions to address these challenges. The book may be exhaustive for most IT executives as the knowledge presented will be mostly used by IT professionals in charge of security, it helps CIOs understand the measures necessary to secure all fronts of their IT networks from hackers and cybercrime in general.

About the Authors: Stuart McClure, Joel Scambray and George Kurtz, influencers and executives in the infosecurity space and founding members of innovative cybersecurity startup firms.

More details here.

8. Digital to the Core: Remastering Leadership for Your Industry, Your Enterprise, and Yourself

Target Audience: Business executives and IT leaders, CIOs, CEOs and CTOs.

Summary: The Gartner publication is a framework to enhance leadership in the era of digital transformation. The book describes the disruptive forces that help IT leaders measure and control change, evaluate the tipping point of technology and the blurred lines between digital and physical spaces in the enterprise business segment. The framework is designed to help CIOs reform their own roles in the organization, transform the operational model of the organization and instil change within the industry.

About the Authors: Mark Raskino, VP and Gartner Fellow, and Graham Waller, VP and Distinguished Analyst at Gartner’s Digital Business Leadership research team.

More details here.

9. The New IT: How Technology Leaders are Enabling Business Strategy in the Digital Age

Target Audience: Business executives, CIOs, CTOs and IT professionals.

Summary: Leading technology trends are encouraging organizations to transform their business processes and strategies to take advantage of the digital offerings. This book helps organizations with practical guideline on realizing this goal. CIOs can use the actionable information to evaluate the current and future profile of their IT organization, align the strategies with business goals and nurture a culture of change toward digital transformation. The book offers case-studies from enterprises such as Toyota, Brooks Brothers and Merck and the best practices from their industry leaders. The resource can empower CIOs to transform their IT from a liability and complex organizational department into a strategic asset for the business.

About the Author: Jill Dyché has been an advisor to leading organizations around the world, assisting with digital transformation initiatives and business-IT alignment in complex business environments.

More details here.

10. The Industries of the Future

Target Audience: Business leaders, IT executives and professionals, and anyone with an interest in the future of industrial technologies.

Summary: Waves of industrial revolution have defined transformation and evolution of business organization over the years. This book aims to identify the technologies that will drive industrial transformation in the coming decades. It answers the question of ‘What’s Next?’, and CIOs can evaluate the predictions in context of their strategies for future business growth, technology development and long-term vision. The book covers a range of topics including robotics and AI, to genomics commercialization and cybersecurity, to economy and digital technology transformation.

About the Author: Alec J. Ross, a leading expert on innovation is currently a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Johns Hopkins University. He has also been the Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

More details here.

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About the author

Muhammad Raza

Muhammad Raza is a Stockholm-based technology consultant working with leading startups and Fortune 500 firms on thought leadership branding projects across DevOps, Cloud, Security and IoT.