Does Anyone Want to Be a CIO Anymore?

Tom Davenport, the President’s Distinguished Professor of IT and Management at Babson College, makes a provocative observation about CIOs: He does not think anyone wants to become one anymore. How could this be? In an article for Fortune, he elaborates on why he believes the CIO role is falling out of favor.

CIOs Disassembled

Davenport in fact believes interest in the CIO position has been on the decline as far back as the dot-com bust. He believes the CIO role comes with a lot of baggage and not enough acclaim. For instance, CIOs are held personally responsible for data security, even though a really dedicated and skilled hacker is going to find a way to breach security regardless. CIOs are also held accountable for activities that occur in the cloud, even though the cloud is generally third-party and, to an extent, not within CIOs’ jurisdiction to control.

Then there is the fact that CIOs are obligated to keep a tight leash on technology bought, as anything not directly procured by IT is dreaded shadow IT. A significant portion of software that is in service is probably legacy software too. Yet the worst part of the CIO gig in Davenport’s mind is that too much of the fun tech stuff is stuff that the CIO no longer gets to touch:

Perhaps a CIO would like to focus, for example, on how to digitize a company’s business processes and relationships. Too bad—that’s been taken over by the Chief Digital Officer. Love thinking about how new technologies might be put to use in your company’s products and services? Too bad, that job has been taken by the CTO. There are also a lot of exciting things happening in the world of analytics and big data, but CIOs may not get to focus on them in organizations that have created Chief Analytics Officers or Chief Data Scientists. In some cases, of course, these roles report to CIOs, but they often do not.

Davenport claims his students are not even interested in pursuing IT these days, instead hoping to become digital entrepreneurs. Granted, this is merely anecdotal evidence, but could this really be a sign of attitudes to come? What do you think? Is the CIO role too boring to be worth pursuing?

You can view the original article here:

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