Death of the CIO?

If the CIO does their job too well they might just kill-off their role...

Mark Samuels

The Doctor's Surgery: Dr Mark Samuels, editor at advisory organisation CIO Connect, examines the future role of the IT leader in this new monthly column.

Have you ever read an article suggesting the CEO or CFO position is under threat? It would be anathema to think a big business could run without a chief executive or a head of finance.

Not so the CIO, apparently. IT leaders are simply responsible for the plumbing that allows the business to do more important things, like sell stuff and make money. And their role is dying.

Parallels are often drawn to the early twentieth century, when firms employed a chief electricity officer to deal with the demands for power. The role disappeared as electricity became a utility and a standardised element of business operations.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

The same, so the argument goes, is happening in IT. Technology, through the advent of cloud and consumer IT, is becoming a utility. Companies of the future won't need a CIO because technology will come in standardised form like technology.

Yeah, good luck with that one. Technology standardisation, as a platform for utility-like purchasing, remains a distant dream. Research from consultant Booz & Company suggests there are 160 standards covering different aspects of the cloud currently being deployed or considered.

When was the last time you wanted to plug something in and found 160 different sockets? The answer, of course, is never because a whole series of activities took place to consolidate power arrangements.

The vested interests of vendors, and the legacy systems of businesses, mean IT still relies on endless sockets. It's not just about the cloud, either. Consider the broad range of social tools, the unabated rise of big data and the demands of a tech-savvy consumer, and you can begin to see technology is more like an encumbrance than a utility.

Only one person, the CIO, can help turn IT from a hindrance to a useful business benefit. Make that happen and the CIO might well make their position redundant. But by demonstrating such capabilities, the CIO will be seen as a crucial part of the boardroom and a true business executive.

The CIO role might die eventually. But we're a long way from writing the obituary. And on the way to the graveyard, the IT leader has an opportunity like never before to demonstrate the crucial role of technology to the business. Long live the CIO.

Featured Resources

What you need to know about migrating to SAP S/4HANA

Factors to assess how and when to begin migration

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

Testing for compliance just became easier

How you can use technology to ensure compliance in your organisation

Download now

Best practices for implementing security awareness training

How to develop a security awareness programme that will actually change behaviour

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/security/internet-security/354417/avast-and-avg-extensions-pulled-from-chrome
internet security

Avast and AVG extensions pulled from Chrome

19 Dec 2019
Visit/security/354156/google-confirms-android-cameras-can-be-hijacked-to-spy-on-you
Security

Google confirms Android cameras can be hijacked to spy on you

20 Nov 2019

Most Popular

Visit/microsoft-windows/32066/what-to-do-if-youre-still-running-windows-7
Microsoft Windows

What to do if you're still running Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
Visit/operating-systems/25802/17-windows-10-problems-and-how-to-fix-them
operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

13 Jan 2020
Visit/policy-legislation/data-governance/354496/brexit-security-talks-under-threat-after-uk-accused-of
data governance

Brexit security talks under threat after UK accused of illegally copying Schengen data

10 Jan 2020
Visit/hardware/laptops/354533/dell-xps-13-new-9300-hands-on-review-chasing-perfection
Laptops

Dell XPS 13 (New 9300) hands-on review: Chasing perfection

14 Jan 2020