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Finding the future-state CIO

Byron Connolly | Feb. 5, 2013
Do CIOs need to morph into chief innovation and operation officers?

In the second and final part of this series on the history and future of the chief information officer, we ask if CIOs need to become process and information architects to drive innovation inside their organisations.

IT has fast become a vital part of the internal mechanics of most enterprises. This has made the chief information officer’s role more important than ever as the quality of technology implementations often has a direct result on an organisation’s revenue potential and can even make or break reputations.

So does this mean that CIOs will need to morph into chief innovation and operation officers in the coming years? John Roberts, research vice-president of Gartner’s CIO and executive leadership research team, says there a few possibilities.

These include IT simply being an engine room to run data centres, crunch numbers and maintain applications; or the IT organisation becomes a service global provider and plays a larger role in creating process and information architectures, even leading business process design, he says.

“Another scenario is where everyone accesses IT [from the cloud]. In that future, the CFO, for example, can simply access software-as-a-service and run everything from the cloud so the role of IT almost becomes a broker for these services.

“The answer is likely to be somewhere in the middle,” Roberts says.

Gartner’s Roberts says that an executive at a utility company in Singapore is known as the manager or process and innovation, who still runs IT, but is looking at opportunities for improvement through new business models, which are enabled by IT.

Allan Davies is the long-time Asia-Pacific CIO at global logistics systems supplier, Dematic. He says of all executives within an organisation, the CIO is one who – in more cases than not – has an intimate understanding of the business process across the organisation and is in a good position to provide some guidance.


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