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The CIO role is safe and sound

CIOs get stronger by continually having to prove themselves, as Mark Samuels discovers...

An IT leader mentioned to me recently that CIOs are more obsessed with the future of their role then any other business leader.

It's a good point. Chief executives lose little sleep worrying about the relevance of their position to the organisation. Likewise finance directors, who similarly to their CEO counterparts are as much a part of the boardroom furniture as the office fixtures and fittings.

Compared to the CEO and CFO roles, the IT director position still feels new and unfamiliar. In its short lifespan, the requirements of CIO role have transformed in-line with the increased role of computing in modern business.

Long-term IT directors will regale you with tales of the early days of business computing, when big data amounted to a few kilobytes and the cloud was something in the sky. Today, technology is the foundation for modern operations.

Such firm footing should mean the CIO's role is safe and secure. However, the previously dark art of business IT now feels a lot less unsettling to outsiders. In an age of consumer technology, the wide scale democratisation of IT knowledge has worked to undermine the technology chief's position.

Everyone in the business has an opinion on technology. For the most part, that opinion is that enterprise IT stinks users have better access to technology at home, they want to use their own devices for work, and they can't understand why most systems are locked down.

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