The role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) is changing, expanding, and having a bigger impact on the bottom line. The growth in technology has morphed the CIO role into areas such as business transformation, change management, service delivery, and even the supply chain. Today’s CIOs require knowledge of both technology and business, not one or the other as in the past.
“We believe there are clear indicators that the existing role of technology management will evolve in a few years to a set of roles that includes management of innovation, information intelligence, customer experience and digital business presence,” says Fred Magee, adjunct research advisor with IDC’s Research Network. His report, “Worldwide CIO Agenda 2014 Top 10 Predictions,” describes the challenges facing CIOs and predicts that by 2018 70% of CIOs will change from directly managing IT to becoming innovation partners.
So — what kind of CIO are you? Here are a few responses from the Sysazzle network:
“The role of a CIO in any organization is one that has truly changed in the last 10 years. As more and more companies rely on the Internet, social media and cloud-based technologies, the CIO is a key member of the management team – involved in the daily operational activities and ensuring that systems are secure, available and have the capacity to ensure the company will prosper. Utilizing data to drive business decisions demands open, flexible and user intuitive solutions that can be easily accessed by the end user – putting data in the hands of the decision maker. The CIO’s role is not just to facilitate but to participate in the growth of a firm.”
David C. Lyons, CTO & Executive Vice President, Operations, Catapult Technology
“The CIO should empower their team by removing barriers, always being a bit ahead by providing them the tools they need to be successful. Being a good encoder and translating the requirements of the business, and of the changing business landscape, into actionable plans with their technical implications is a critical skill they must possess. The CIO understands and should be able to communicate and inspire their teams to understand that what they are doing has a direct linkage to revenue, cost reduction, and/or reducing risks — even the most seemingly insignificant function has to be tied to productivity and, ultimately, improving the health of the business. If it’s not, it should be dropped faster than that old Zip drive.”
Mark Skidmore, IT Director, Office of the CIO, Molina Healthcare
“I’ve found that many Chief Information Officers are hired to be technology auteurs, responsible for everything technical including managing infrastructure, application development, digital marketing and technology business strategy. The expectation that one individual can be good at so many disciplines drives turnover in the position because becoming the ‘one throat to choke’ for everything IT puts the role in conflict with itself. Even the best CIOs can be overly focused on stability, cost containment or security and find it difficult to advocate for technology innovation at the core mission level. In my experience, a successful model has been in healthcare, where IT infrastructure management strategy and the organization’s medical informatics are separate and represented by different executive leaders. In other words, it may be critical to add a range of IT voices…not just one…to an organization’s senior leadership team.”
Phil Hopkins, Solutions Delivery Director, Sysazzle
It’s clear that being a CIO who just “keeps the lights on” isn’t what the job is anymore. Today’s CIOs must be sure the necessary is getting done, but must also pave the way forward for the organization and connect technology to outcomes. Now more than ever, the CIO is responsible for the health and bottom line of the organization.