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.

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

Key considerations for implementing secure telework at scale

Identifying the security risks and advanced requirements of a remote workforce

Download now

The State of Salesforce 2020

Your guide to getting the most from Salesforce

Download now

Fast, flexible and compliant e-signatures for global businesses

Be at the forefront of digital transformation with electronic signatures

Download now

Rethink your cybersecurity strategy for the new world

5 steps to secure the enterprise and be fit for a flexible future

Download now

Recommended

Andrew Daniels joins Druva as CIO and CISO
Cloud

Andrew Daniels joins Druva as CIO and CISO

22 Jul 2020
University of California gets fleeced by hackers for $1.14 million
ransomware

University of California gets fleeced by hackers for $1.14 million

30 Jun 2020
Australia announces $1.35 billion investment in cyber security
cyber security

Australia announces $1.35 billion investment in cyber security

30 Jun 2020
CSA and ISSA form cyber security partnership
cloud security

CSA and ISSA form cyber security partnership

30 Jun 2020

Most Popular

How to find RAM speed, size and type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

3 Aug 2020
How to use Chromecast without Wi-Fi
Mobile

How to use Chromecast without Wi-Fi

4 Aug 2020
How do I fix the Windows 10 Start Menu if it's frozen?
operating systems

How do I fix the Windows 10 Start Menu if it's frozen?

3 Aug 2020