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Shane O'Neill
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Future CIO: Embrace Digital, Become A Business Partner

CIOs should prepare for an era of digital disruption where a decentralized IT department is spread across the company.

InformationWeek research shows that many CIOs are looking forward. According to our 2013 Global CIO survey covering IT trends and concerns, collaboration with other departments and preparation for and investment in new technologies are priorities (118 IT executives at organizations with 100 or more employees were surveyed in Feb. 2013).

--When asked about the primary areas on which they spend their time, 33% of respondents answered, "Educating myself about the next wave of technologies."

--Similarly, when asked about what represents the main opportunity for CIOs today, the top two answers were "Use customer/business data to influence new products and services and drive growth," and "Move the company closer to its customers via technology."

--Respondents cited Web and mobile applications as the top two most important platforms to building closer ties with external customers.

--A large majority of respondents report that collaboration with customer service, finance, operations/manufacturing and marketing departments are all good or excellent.

Out in the real word, there are plenty examples of forward-looking CIOs using mobile, social and data analytics tools and working with other departments to solve business problems. Take a look at our annual InformationWeek 500 coverage for stories of IT innovators that turned great ideas into action.

Of course, we do NOT live in some utopia where business and IT execs always see eye-to-eye and CIOs are content with their budgets. But our survey results and InformationWeek 500 winners indicate CIOs are working to adapt to a new order.

Learn more about forward-thinking IT management by attending the Interop conference track on Business of IT in New York from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4.

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User Rank: Apprentice
9/30/2013 | 3:15:18 AM
re: Future CIO: Embrace Digital, Become A Business Partner
Fragmented or embedded IT may actually create stronger centralized groups, especially given the impact of cloud computing, Big Data and mobile enterprise technology. That fragmentation is what actually creates the business awareness perceived to be lacking in many IT departments.
Shane M. O'Neill
Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
9/27/2013 | 6:53:18 PM
re: Future CIO: Embrace Digital, Become A Business Partner
Thanks Andi. The CIO role is definitely coming to a crossroads. Cheers.
User Rank: Moderator
9/25/2013 | 9:24:29 PM
re: Future CIO: Embrace Digital, Become A Business Partner
This is a great story Shane, I really appreciate the insight from you and these experts. The role of the CIO - indeed, of all IT - has to change as a response to new disruptive trends.

However, I disagree that this is just because technology is now "too important". IT has been critical for decades, that is not new. The big change is how accessible it is - the Consumerization of IT is really the core of this change. Behind this are new disruptions like cloud, mobile/BYOD, social, analytics, Internet of Things, devops, and more.

But I agree deeply with Mines that IT can no longer be a gatekeeper - it must be an orchestrator, and as he says, a trusted advisor in this new world. IT leaders are (should be) technology experts, and are incredibly well-positioned to demonstrate the value of that expertise, even (especially) to a newly tech-savvy business.

How CIOs can realistically adapt to this digital future - and drive incredible positive business outcomes as a result - by leveraging disruptive trends is a key focus in my latest book, The Innovative CIO; and the theme of my speech at the upcoming Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando on Oct 8th. So this a very timely article for me! Thanks for writing it

Andi Mann
CA Technologies
Shane M. O'Neill
Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
9/20/2013 | 4:41:35 PM
re: Future CIO: Embrace Digital, Become A Business Partner
Right, that's another concern. Will CIOs lose further control as these "IT-related but not really IT" groups like developers and analytics gurus grow in importance? I think it becomes more essential that CIOs be great delegators and masters of relationships to keep from being marginalized.
D. Henschen
D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
9/20/2013 | 4:15:44 PM
re: Future CIO: Embrace Digital, Become A Business Partner
I'd the phenomenon of two levels of technologists has existing for a long time. I've covered analytics, business intelligence and data warehousing for a long time, and I'd say the front-end analytics and BI types are often part of groups other than IT. Even the data warehousing staff is sometimes apart from IT. What we're often seeing with cloud is line-of-business groups making their own choices about technology. That trend increasingly marginalizes IT as the "keeping the lights on" storage and server capacity department.
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