In my last blog post, I said I'd reveal the titles that survey respondents think the CIO could someday assume based on their evolving responsibilities. And here are the results...First we asked the 575 IT professionals we surveyed if they believe that the role of the CIO is changing, and 78% said they believe the CIO is becoming much more of a business leader. Then we asked if they believe if the actual title "chief information officer" will change along with the role, and 32% believe that, in fact, it will. Finally, we asked those who felt the title will change what they believe the title will evolve to, and there were two top answers. Twenty-nine percent said they believe it will change to "something like chief operations officer" (and based on extensive conversations with CIOs, the consensus is that CIOs will take on more operations activities and subsume the COO role rather than the COO taking over IT responsibilities and phasing out the CIO); an equal number of people felt that the title will change to "something like chief technical excellence officer." The title that I've recently been suggesting as the most likely candidate came in third: chief process excellence officer.
What's it all mean? The entire business-IT alignment phenomenon is forcing companies to take a look at the governance of IT and decide who's best prepared to handle both the business and technical responsibilities. It's also encouraging that companies haven't taken the false step backward of trying to separate the two responsibilities and give oversight to two different people, thereby creating a disconnect at a time when the alignment of the two needs to be seamless.
It's also already been a great conversation starter out in the market because people are really feeling this inflection point for the CIO. It's been something of a fun guessing game for people with whom I've spoken as they try to match what they see as the future of the role with an appropriate title. It's also allowing current CIOs to do some much needed mental exercise about where they're headed.