Are you under threat from the head of the IoT?

Mark Samuels ponders what the latest job title du jour means for those currently tasked with their firm's digital strategy

If you think the position of chief digital officer (CDO) is pointless, then another job title has emerged that takes superfluous senior IT roles to a whole new level.

All hail the head of the Internet of Things (IoT), a new executive position for the technology industry's latest trend. The concept of IoT refers to the interconnection of internet-enabled objects and devices and research suggests the trend is going to have a significant impact on business.

CDOs might have become more prominent in the past few years, but few people will focus on whether the role actually becomes a boardroom mainstay. The quick pace of IT development means a new set of trends is always on the horizon. And new technology trends, it seems, always require new types of IT executive.

Analyst firm Gartner estimates that the IoT will include 26 billion devices by 2020, with spending set to exceed $300 billion by the end of the decade. Those figures sound impressive, yet it is also crucial to recognise how six years is an awfully long time in terms of IT development.

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The first iPad, for example, is not even five years old, having only been launched in April 2010. Back then, the CIO would have been the only executive charged with analysing the impact of new IT. But something happened in the intervening four-or-so years to make people question the relevance of the CIO position.

More and more experts started to wonder whether a new type of executive, known as the CDO, would be better at dealing with big data and the cloud. Gartner was particular excited about the role, suggesting two years ago that 25 per cent of organisations would have a CDO by 2015.

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