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Is the CIO as we know it an endangered species?

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As quoted on Chris Taylor's blog, "CIOs do not understand where the business needs to go, and CIOs do not have a strategy, in terms of opportunities to be pursued or challenges to be addressed in support of the business."   So do you think today's CIO will survive?

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  • It's a question of definition.

    From Techrepublic:

    "The CIO is responsible for information strategy, culture, and compliance. Information strategy describes the roles and uses of information in shaping the future of the business and in setting and achieving business goals."

    "The CTO is responsible for technology strategy which includes information, communications, operations, and competitive technologies. One of the primary responsibilities of a CTO is to be continuously aware of science and technology trends and futures."

    If you look at the definitions there is some cross-over in which case both roles need to be examined for relevance for todays context.

    The Chief 'Information' Officer surely has a place now with the focus on predictive analytics and Big Data but it would appear the role is also wrapped up in culture and compliance strategy too. A pivot is needed in order for the 'traditional' CIO to survive.

    Similarly the Chief 'Technology' Officer is just a bit too nebulous a role now, it's too broad and far too easy to build an empire from it.

    In my opinion the entire C-Suite is up for sale now given the pace of change and how technology is reshaping business in all its internal facets.

    The roles and scope are too big for just one set of people to define a coherent strategy together, they're too self indulgent. Their traditional responsibilities and scope need broken down, redefined and distributed evenly.

    CTO, CIO, COO....your time is up.

  • It's about roles and responsibilities, just higher up the feeding chain. TLAs aside does the individual add value to the organization, make a difference? SVPs and CXOs, I'm met some pretty good ones, quote-unquote "visionaries" who had a sense of direction and purpose; I've also met some who exemplify the Peter Principle.

    All depends upon what an organization wants out of the roles and responsibilities associated with a given title and whether an individual operating in that capacity delivers.

    At the top, just as at the bottom, "It's the team, stupid." That has always been the one common criterion to a successful initiative, project, solution. No substitute for good people.

  • I think that is an overstatement. Especially in the cloud era, technology continues to be strategic, and decisions needs to be made about how the vast array of technologies a company uses (more fragmented in the cloud era) work together and contribute to business goals. That's a CIO job description right there.


  • Chris Taylor describes an enduring problem: a Gap between Business and IT. CIO's agendas and goals are not aligned with business agendas and goals.

    Few years ago, George F. Colony Forrester Research's Founder and Chairman coined the term Business Technology. He thought that IT must focus on servicing the Business. Unfortunately the Gap between IT and Business is still as large as it was. ClO's are continuosly losing duties and budgets. Cloud Computing and Consumerization accelerate the process. THe CIOs have a choice: becoming part of the Business and understand it and support it or disappear.
    for more details read the foloowing posts:

    Will Business and IT Aligned?

    Mind the Gap not the Name

  • Even if CIO would possess all attributes enumerated by Chris Taylor, I were not sure this role "as is today" is needed.

    Some authors propose to re-define the acronym into C-Integration-O or C-Innovations-O. Well to integrate, there should be a need to get something that non of the isolated artefacts can provide. That is, a C-Integration-O should represent interests of somebody above other being totally dependent on them - such a dualism never worked.

    If one person becomes responsible for innovations but without a power for realising them, we will have a book-keeper or registrar, nothing more, because no other C-executives would give up their right and ability to introduce and realise innovations in their domains.

    I think that the role of CIO has to be transformed into a role of Manager of Cross-Functional Cross-Divisional Management Unit. This role doesnot leave any doubts in the rights of this management Unit to control all others across the enterprise. The scope of the control is basically functional and informational. This unit sits between C-executive level and all other management level and becomes responsible for cross-enterprise balanced innovations and integration for the benefits of the enterprise as a whole rather than benefits of separate individual LOB or BU. Details of this model see in "Architects Know What Managers Don't" (www.mpoulin.com/architects-know-what-manager-dont/)

  • CEOs understand sales, they understand finance, they understand supply chain. And yet, their business rests no less on technology and information flow than on those other pillars. But these, the CEO does not grok. (Not to mention HR... but that's for another time.)

    The only CIO that is endangered is the one who cannot translate the work she does into terms that the CEO can understand. Whether that's because the CIO hasn't had any success driving sales or operational savings, or he has but cannot quantify it in a way that is meaningful to the CEO, is irrelevant.

    Management still matters. Technology still matters. Until that changes, the CIO (or some equivalent position) is around to stay.

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