CIO Role In 2013: Four-Headed Monster?

Chief innovation officer. Chief infrastructure officer. Chief integration officer. Chief intelligence officer. Can you handle all four jobs?

Eric Lundquist, VP & Editorial Analyst for InformationWeek Business Technology Network

August 14, 2012

3 Min Read

What's a CIO to do? In the past, some of the big leaps in technology meant more power flowing to the technology group. Unified communication meant the days of the separate telecom department were numbered, and no one would think about trying to develop a UC capability without involving the tech group. Big ERP projects, company-wide CRM, and concerns over privacy, security, and compliance meant job security for the CIO. While all those concerns remain, the CIO needs to rethink the role of IT. While departments are getting budgets for technology acquisition, they do not have the corporate technology roadmap nor the technology support departments to keep the tech engine running.

Wang sees the CIO as having four "personas", all of which redefine what a CIO role should be in a company. The chief innovation officer is currently moving to mobility and analytics initiatives. The chief infrastructure officer is involved in enabling infrastructure services. The chief integration officer has a focus on implementing what Constellation refers to as "hybrid IT"--melding in-house and outside services. The chief intelligence officer is engaged in moving the organization from data to decision making. All those personas can be one person or several reports. While those roles are essential to developing a successful organization, those roles must also accommodate extricating the organization from "BYOD hell."

[ A modern CIO faces a lot of challenges. Read How To Keep Your Best Talent. ]

Wang's advice for CIOs is to embark on two tracks within their company. The main track is one that CIOs have been told to follow for a long time: understand the business of your company. The additional piece of that challenge is that once you have business understanding, spend time experimenting with new technology capabilities, design a technology blueprint, and establish guidelines for technology implementation.

The second track is to undertake a rationalization process in your company. The ease of bringing in consumer technologies and software services means companies increasingly are a mix of many different services. That mixture of services precludes efficiency and challenges security as corporate documents, customer information, and critical information get dispersed outside the company without guidelines. The CIO that can rationalize all those dispersed capabilities by establishing standards for company approved platforms without dampening innovation will be the mark of the successful CIO.

Global CIO Global CIOs: A Site Just For You Visit InformationWeek's Global CIO -- our online community and information resource for CIOs operating in the global economy.

"The CIO has the key piece of corporate knowledge, which is how to integrate services, and as such should be the central point of innovation," said Skaff.

Technology vendors would do well to pay attention to the advice from Skaff and Wang. While performing an end run around the CIO and IT department may be an avenue to a quick sale, the evolving role of the CIO as the arbiter of services will see the end run strategy become a dead end.

"This is where it gets frustrating," said Skaff. "Vendors are telling the business end users that you don't need IT. Vendors see it as a way to make a quick sale."

The value of that quick sale to the vendor will evaporate as CIOs become empowered with the role of service integrators in their companies and they remember the vendors that brought IT into the sales process versus those that performed the end run, noted Skaff.

About the Author(s)

Eric  Lundquist

VP & Editorial Analyst for InformationWeek Business Technology Network

Eric Lundquist,
VP and Editorial Analyst, InformationWeek
[email protected]

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights