How to be an Award-Winning CIO


On May 16, I received the award for the 2013 CIO of the Year by The Executives’ Club of Chicago, AITP and SIM. This is a great honor considering the competition from several CIOs of Fortune 100 companies in the Chicagoland area.

Personally, I am very humbled and believe that I have been selected as the winner due to my focus on constant innovation, driving business value through the strategic use of IT as well as my visionary ability to drive organizational growth through the tactical use of technology.

It has been an enthralling journey at optionMONSTER and our flagship subsidiary tradeMONSTER, building the technology team from the ground up and driving innovation as a team to raise the bars of technology in the trading industry; being first to launch browser based platform with streaming data throughout, and first to launch HTML5 mobile trading platform.

Here are few key battle-tested habits and lessons that I consider important to technology leaders.

Balancing Risks and Innovation

Innovation can be successful only if there is:

a) right business case for it
b) a fallback plan
c) right team behind it.

Evaluating a business case and performing a proof of concept to test whether the technology is mature enough for a business case is the starting step. Once that’s proven, an agile development plan with a fail fast and move forward approach will minimize risks embracing innovative technologies like HTML5, Cloud, open source etc.

Enabling technology as major business differentiator

Success to getting a seat at the table for IT is to enable technology solutions to become a business differentiator that can contribute to the bottom line as well.

Strategic use of IT and building profitable partnerships

As a CIO, to understand the direction of the business and prioritization and generate revenue through profitable partnerships. In our case we partnered with a number of companies and generated revenue through use of API, co-branding of platforms etc.

Building a fluid organizational model

No CIO can succeed without a competent and highly motivated team. A fluid structure with several horizontals and verticals within the IT organization can help cross-train resources, understand business processes and create leaders.

Building an IT team focusing on user experience, collaboration and innovation

Hire resources with business acumen and mentor them to visualize user experience helps to create a culture of collaboration and innovation.

IT leadership is not rosy, but the battles, relationships, challenges and the successes makes it special for technology leaders like me.

Sanjib Sahoo is the Chief Technology officer of tradeMONSTER. Rated " Best for Options Traders," tradeMONSTER is setting a new standard of excellence and innovation in the online brokerage industry. tradeMONSTER was the first online broker to deploy a streaming desktop-like trading experience in a web-browser, featuring professional grade tools in a dynamic and customizable interface combined with integrated investor education, transparent commissions and an extremely knowledgeable and dedicated customer service team. Sanjib took a lead role in recent launch of patent pending “tradeMONSTER mobile” and was awarded the “2013 CIO of the year” by Executives’ Club of Chicago, AITP and SIM.

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