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10 Expert Insights on the future of the CIO


10 Expert Insights on the future of the CIO


Will the CIO disappear? Will the CIO responsibilities grow?

As disruptive technologies like virtualization and cloud impact how the data center is run, and the amount of information processed grows exponentially, this year will be a definitive year for the role of the CIO, as they redefine how IT operates and is employed by the business.

Here are 10 views from experts at IDC, Gartner, Forrester, Financial Times, CIO.com and more sharing how they see the role of the CIO changing and developing.

1. CIOs Will Help to Identify and Build Up New IT-Based Business Opportunities

I would expect CIOs to lead this broad use of technology across the business. They will continue to play a major role in managing the use of IT in the daily operations of the company, as well as in exploring ways of improving the IT infrastructure and all IT-based processes. They will have to work closely with all other senior executives to help them design, build and support their increasingly complex applications, solutions and services, as well as bringing them the latest technology advances that will help them keep up and surpass competition. As companies look to grow their businesses by developing all kinds of cloud-based services, CIOs will now play a major role, akin to that of the CTO, in helping to identify and build up these new IT-based business opportunities.

By Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Citigroup Strategic Advisor and Visiting Lecturer at MIT's Sloan School of Management and Engineering Systems Division
Reflections on the Evolving Role of the CIO 

2. CIOs Need to Manage Change, Not Technology

Today's big technologies--cloud and mobile computing, social media, consumerization, and big data--won't themselves alter the CIO's fundamental role. At least not for top CIOs who already know that their job is to manage change, not technology; to set strategy, not server thresholds. But certainly these "big five" technologies will continue to let companies create new products and interact with customers in important new ways, just as prior technologies did.

By Kim Nash, award-winning reporter, CIO.com
Top CIOs predict future of the CIO role 

3. CIOs Will Have Fewer Tasks with More Business Focus

I'm convinced that the migration to Cloud Service Architectures is inevitable; but to paraphrase Mark Twain, "The reports of the CIO's death have been greatly exaggerated." That said, we see IT activities changing pretty radically over the next several years. For most CIOs, this will be more a matter of fewer tasks and being able to focus more on the business and less on technology.

4. CIOs Will Need to Encourage Innovation

The CIO role is about to change drastically and significantly. The CIOs who continue to manage technology and focus only on execution will not survive. The ones who embrace this change and step up to enable the business, empower the employees, and encourage innovation across the organization will succeed in this role.

By Khalid Kark, Vice President, Research Director Serving CIO Professionals, Forrester
The New CIO — Embrace The Empowered Era Or Step Aside 

5. CIOs Will Use Technology As an "Amplifier" of Business And Innovation

2012 will be a year in which leaders redefine how IT operates and is employed by the business. In 2012, leading CIOs will use technology as an "amplifier" of business and innovation.

By Mark McDonald, GVP, Executive Programs, Gartner
2012 CIO Agenda 

6. The CIO Will Split Into Two Roles

"how companies view IT will radically change. Over time, executives across all industries will come to understand that their company's success will be more and more dependent on the analysis of the information the company collects and manages. When this appreciation comes to fruition, we believe it will shift the paradigm of a CIO. This new reality will split the CIO into two roles: One role focused on the strategic information needs of the company; the other focused on managing the information technology of the company (much, if not most, of which will be procured from outside vendors) and building IT functional capabilities." 

By Mike Cooke, Financial Times, partner in Booz & Company's Strategy and IT practices
Does the company CIO have a future? 

7. CIOs Will Need To Use Cloud Services To Focus On How Data Is Accessed

The role of the CIO is not disappearing into the cloud; instead, it is becoming more strategic because of it. Responsibilities go beyond hooking up servers and making IT connections. It's all about the data: how you gather, protect, leverage and execute on the information available will be the key to success. Pundits that sounded the alarm for the cloud's role in the demise of the CIO were absolutely correct. The cloud is going to cause a lot of CIOs to get fired. The bad ones. 

By Keith Engelbert, CIO of Student Transportation Inc., an operator of school buses
Will CIOs Vanish Into The Cloud? 

8. CIO to Tackle Information as a Business Analyst

Information and IT is the route to fixing the challenges that an organisation faces. So CIOs are well placed to be the bridge. Organisations need them on the board to make sure you are going after the biggest problems

By Mark Chillingworth interviewing Dave Ubachs, CIO P&G
CIO Profile: P&G's Dave Ubachs on the future of the CIO 

9. The role of the CIO in its current capacity will not exist in five years

the CIO today is responsible for greater levels of innovation than ever before. We're seeing CIOs moving away from previous years of having to lead on daily IT operations and maintenance into that of a provider of strategic consultancy to finance and the wider business. Only by freeing up CIOs from the day-to-day burden of managing assets will organisations be able to truly realise the value that a CIO can bring to their business."

10. IT leaders anticipate a challenging year ahead for their business and industry

CIOs are taking some action to improve or solidify relationships with business stakeholders but a good number are still falling short in this area with survey results suggesting a gap between CIOs' perceptions and those of their non-IT peers. 

By CIO.com
The 'State of the CIO' in 2012

Your Turn
We'd like to hear your insights into this area.

How do you see the role of CIO changing?
About the Author
Martin Perlin