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Gartner: CIOs Begin 3-Year Shift In Responsibilities

Transformation marked by focus on growth rather than cost, from automation to "amplification," and from IT to technology, says analyst.

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This year marked the start of a three-year shift in the fundamental responsibilities of the CIO, according to Gartner group VP Mark McDonald, coauthor of The Digital Edge.

The shift is marked by the following characteristics, according to McDonald: From a focus on cost to a focus on growth, from automation to amplification, and from IT to technology.

"CIOs have to pivot away from IT and towards technology," said McDonald in an interview with InformationWeek. He went on to explain that IT traditionally has been concerned with cost control, back office applications, and lengthy application development processes. A focus on technology means a customer-facing orientation often built around social network interaction, rapid development of a "mosaic" of services rather than monolithic years-long development, and a mobile-first strategy.

In a mobile-first strategy, the legacy applications become a data store for the mobile applications rather than standalone applications.

[ The key to success is asking the right questions. Read Will CMOs Outspend CIOs? Wrong Question. ]

McDonald described "amplifying technologies"--technologies that increase a business' reach. That increase is accomplished by digitalization of existing processes--such as the shift from print to ebooks--which provides a strategic advantage for a CIO's company. Those amplifying technologies bring the CIO into the boardroom and provide prominence in the company, above and beyond the role of mere cost cutter.

In a blog post, McDonald writes, "Technology, not IT! This is a critical difference IT solutions like ERP, CRM and the like automate the enterprise with a focus on consolidation and cost. Technologies such as mobile, social, big data and cloud are fundamentally different than IT. These technologies amplify performance and strategy."

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User Rank: Apprentice
10/26/2012 | 4:44:19 PM
re: Gartner: CIOs Begin 3-Year Shift In Responsibilities
Thanks for the thoughtful comments. If CIOs don't get on top of technology (not IT), they will see their influence -- and budgets -- shrink
User Rank: Apprentice
10/25/2012 | 9:47:45 PM
re: Gartner: CIOs Begin 3-Year Shift In Responsibilities
Very appropriate and very relevant! I would go a step further and advocate that the pivot needs to go beyond the "IT to technology" to "business technology" or "technology business", the latter including mobile first and, more broadly, the digital ecosystem.
User Rank: Apprentice
10/24/2012 | 9:43:24 PM
re: Gartner: CIOs Begin 3-Year Shift In Responsibilities
Exactly where we need to take it. Seeing this trend and making it a reality will be a challenge for a lot of organizations out there. Having just joined a company I have this exact concern so I'm re-aligning our IT org around "service desk", "infrastructure", and "technology solutions". Making a clear charter that it's our job to help propose, design, implement, and of course maintain and/or manage any technology solutions within the company, and that our key values have to be as solutions consultants over application admins...

The real divide continues between senior level "unitask" employees that manage and maintain services that are being outsourced or done through SaaS/IaaS/PaaS, and those that are extremely broad of experience and vision. The technology solutions org leverages a completely different part of the "IT" skillset - and brings with it a higher value service.

User Rank: Apprentice
10/24/2012 | 6:35:32 PM
re: Gartner: CIOs Begin 3-Year Shift In Responsibilities
A very good forward looking article. Thank you for sharing. A key challenge in my role as an IT ERP Director was to maximize business value with a shrinking budget. It was quite an education for a person with the majority of his experience in Tier I ERP Consulting. There are many options competing against IT organizations in providing ERP services (SaaS, Cloud, Off-shore and Near-Shore support models). Two key battlegrounds are ERP software development for customizations and ERP support.

Show me an IT organization whose key competitive advantage is that they are internal and I will show you a shrinking IT department! There must be a major shift in ITGs value proposition for ERP support. In the next sections we will discuss some of the shifts IT ERP shops need to make to stay competitive and relevant.
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