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Finding the future-state CIO

People are rarely limited by the title given to them upon being hired. Even before the global recession, employees were expected to stretch beyond original job descriptions- and this is possibly most true of CIOs, according to an article by Byron Connolly. Being a Chief Information Officer geared for success may mean wearing many different hats:

So does this mean that CIOs will need to morph into chief innovation and operation officers in the coming years? John Roberts, research vice-president of Gartner’s CIO and executive leadership research team, says there a few possibilities. These include IT simply being an engine room to run data centres, crunch numbers and maintain applications; or the IT organisation becomes a service global provider and plays a larger role in creating process and information architectures, even leading business process design, he says. “Another scenario is where everyone accesses IT [from the cloud]. In that future, the CFO, for example, can simply access software-as-a-service and run everything from the cloud so the role of IT almost becomes a broker for these services. “The answer is likely to be somewhere in the middle,” Roberts says.

Connolly notes that the size of an organization also influences what the future role of the CIO will be. He uses the example of the healthy industry versus a more knowledge based industry. In the first, the CIO would have greater influence on customer experience and interaction. In the latter, the knowledge workers have greater influence and greater overall knowledge of the material being dealt with than the CIO does.
The point here, as Connolly highlights, is that the alignment between IT and business is a constant effort with no finish line. There will always be work which needs to be done. Furthermore, with all the innovations taking place in the technology world, what might work for a CIO one day may make no sense the next. It is important for the CIO to be flexible and willing to work with business, no matter what hat they happen to be wearing that day.

About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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