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."