How To Be an Effective CIO

Looking to be the most effective CIO you can be? It pays to heed the advice of those at the top so you can become a better CIO or get promoted to the position.

One CIO at the top of the corporate food chain would have to be Bill Miller Jr., the CIO of Broadcom. The company is a global leader and innovator in semiconductor solutions for wired and wireless communications.

Miller, who has more than 25 years in a variety of information technology leadership roles, recently shared his 7 Habits of CIO Innovation with Vala Afshar, Chief Marketing Officer, Extreme Networks. Afshar posted the piece on Huffington Post.

  • Gain execution velocity through collaboration: It’s a mouthful but Miller says, “For fast engineering, collaboration is king.” Teams have to be able to work collaboratively for success.
  • Think globally, act locally: Broadcom wants its employees to come up with global solutions but allows them to tinker on their projects in relative seclusion at labs spread out across the world until the time is right. Miller says the labs allow “them to work on the details and work out the kinks of new technology in a small corner of the organization.”
  • Adopt a customer-centric view: Sure it’s a common platitude to say the customer comes first but Miller points out good CIOs serve the internal as well as the external customer. Give your customer service representatives all the tools they need and the external customers benefit as well.
  • Maintain operation integrity: “Maintaining the operation integrity is based on having good, solid, reliable and repeatable business processes and disciplines,” the article says, adding, “Because of the fast pace of growth that Broadcom experienced, they failed to initially put in repeatable processes and disciplines.” That was one of Miller’s first tasks as the new CIO.
  • Employ professional project managers: Miller says, “We are system engineering more solutions in the IT world today than we ever have before and those people who have good project management skills are the most qualified to do this.”
  • Leverage metadata to foster business agility: “For Broadcom, big data relates to leveraging metadata to learn about all the engineering jobs that they run,” the article says, quoting Miller, “Time to market is everything in this space, so it’s important not to run extra cycles in our development life cycle and this data helps us to do that.”
  • Proactively, and systematically collect customer feedback: At Broadcom, the article says, “IT developed a process where they get rated annually by their 20+ engineering organizations. IT uses the feedback to improve and addresses the engineering needs going forward.”

Prior to joining Broadcom, Miller served more than 25 years in a variety of information technology leadership roles, most recently as founder and CEO of Sabal Systems, an information technology consulting group, according to a blog post at Before Sabal, Miller was CIO at Harris Corp., a diversified technology and government supplier.  At Harris he built the company’s global information technology infrastructure, including leading technology acquisition and enterprise resource planning.

In his role as CIO, Miller is responsible for leading the company’s information technology strategy by scaling and optimizing information systems to operate seamlessly across the global enterprise.

Miller is currently Chairman of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Central Florida.  He recently held the position of Industry Chair of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) CIO Council and is active on the Advisory Board of the Information Management Forum.  Miller received an M.B.A. from University of Central Florida, an M.S. in Materials Science from University of Virginia and a B.S. in Engineering from Loyola University Maryland.



Keith Griffin
Keith Griffin is an award-winning business writer and editor with more than 30 years experience as a journalist. His work has been published in The Boston Globe, Medical Economist, Good Housekeeping,, the Hartford Courant, CT Law Tribune and numerous other regional publications.