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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?

However, he doesn’t see the CIO becoming the “information architect” because the CIO doesn’t own the business processes.

“My experience has shown that unless the process owner takes responsibility for the automation, they can be reluctant to use the end product as they see it as an IT solution,” he says. “CIOs can help business process owners challenge the status quo, challenge them to think past their immediate requirement and think long term.

“The fault many people make is they try to automate a manual process thinking that the automation is going to fix all the associated issues with the manual process; this is where the CIO can assist.”

Peter Nevin, who has been a CIO for more than 20 years, agrees that we are seeing a greater degree of automation of business processes across many organisations, which means CIOs need to become process architects.

He says the CIO should be affecting business processes and client interactions inside the organisation and “if they haven’t got that sorted out by now, they probably shouldn’t be there.”

But the influence of the CIO on these things will depends on a company’s size, segment and industry, says Nevin.

“The health industry, for example is very customer-focused, [but in] a knowledge working industry it is very difficult for the CIO to get to a point where they affect the client relationship because that’s what the knowledge worker does.”

There has always been a need for CIOs to be involved in business and process development and strategy and every new generation of managers needs to “learn the lessons all over again,” says IT industry analyst, Graeme Philipson.

“This whole idea of IT and business alignment is a journey, not a destination – no-one ever gets there,” he says. “There is always this divide between IT and business and if an organisation with different personalities and people bridge that gap to a greater or lesser extent but it’s always there.”


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