A decade ago, the typical Chief Information Officer, fondly referred to as the CIO, was concerned mostly with IT infrastructure. Today’s CIOs face a bevy of additional challenges with businesses demanding more for less, boardroom pressure to show return on investment on innovation and technology and ever-growing consumer wish lists. There is an upside to this growing demands though. Helping business save money and deliver value while ensuring that consumers get what they need makes CIOs more visible to the rest of the business.
The role of CIOs, and the IT departments they direct, is changing as well. Not only do the vast majority of companies now view their CIOs as critical members of company structure, they also expect that role to grow in the future. A few companies in the country have elevated their CIOs to the board and others are not too far from the C-Suite, playing a critical role in strategy and decision making.
With technology being more and more in the forefront of business, the role and stature of the CIO seems to be gaining in stature and almost at par as some members of the C-Suite that they used to report to not long ago. A recent study by, Modis a research firm based in the USA, found that 93 percent of CEOs trust their IT senior leader and say that the CIO hires the right talent for the business. Modis also found that 98 percent of business leaders and CEOs think their CIOs adequately articulate what the IT department does for those companies, as well as what roles IT plays in other departments.Locally, the role, which never existed a decade ago, is now commonplace in most forward thinking organizations and that is perhaps why their place is now being celebrated and recognized.
To stay relevant, the CIO role must evolve beyond the operational, shared service mentality. Droning on about uptime and upgrades is not going to cut it, and purely operational CIOs will rapidly be ushered out of the C-suite. … In this world, the CIO becomes a mix of process officer, information broker and skunk works-type researcher. His or her ‘customers’ are those that write the checks for the products and services the company buys, not internal business units, and problems are tackled jointly with line of business counterparts. In this role, the infrastructure is far less important than the strategic direction of the company and a detailed understanding of the company’s markets, processes and relationships. Essentially the ‘Information’ portion of IT becomes far more relevant than the technical aspects.~ Patrick Gray: The CIO Is Dead (Long Live the CIO)
It will be interesting to see what the CIO role is shaping up to be over the next decade as technologies such as cloud computing and business mobility mature and the drive for outsourced IT services gains momentum.