More Than A CIO: Piling On Operations - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
6/3/2008
05:33 PM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary
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More Than A CIO: Piling On Operations

HSBC North America, "the world's local bank," according to its tagline, has promoted its CIO to something called a Chief Technology and Services Officer. I'm all for CIOs taking on more responsibilities, but is there a limit?

HSBC North America, "the world's local bank," according to its tagline, has promoted its CIO to something called a Chief Technology and Services Officer. I'm all for CIOs taking on more responsibilities, but is there a limit?Andrew Armishaw, CIO of HSBC NA for the last several years, has been tapped for the newly created position of Chief Technology and Services Officer, according to a release from the company. HSBC describes the new job this way:

This position at HSBC was developed as part of a global initiative to create a common business framework for core support functions across the company.

Sounds familiar. Filippo Passerini has a similar role at Procter & Gamble, where he's in charge of not only IT but corporate services such as HR and payroll. Many forward-thinking companies are looking to leverage the role of the CIO into something like an operations chief, rationalizing business processes and leveraging commonalities.

Armishaw is responsible for ensuring that HSBC's Information Technology and Operations teams are working closely together to enhance the customer experience, create greater consistency in how HSBC operates, and improve economies of scale across businesses.

But that's not all. According to the company, Armishaw also will be responsible for its security and fraud operations, corporate real estate, and other "operational functions."

Make no mistake: Armishaw is still the CIO. "He's still responsible for the IT functions, we've just added the operations piece," says a company spokeswoman. "It's an expanded role."

Armishaw can't do it all, so he will have to have a VP of IT, at least, to perform the heavy lifting, IT-wise.

CIOs need to take more business responsibilities -- to contribute more to the operations side of business, especially. But is there a point of diminishing returns?

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