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CIOs step into strategic role as tech buying moves out of IT

Thor Olavsrud | July 17, 2017
Non-IT line of business leaders are increasingly taking over the technology purchasing responsibility that has traditionally belonged to CIOs, but one industry expert argues this shift represents an opportunity for CIOs.

"We found that the lines of business and IT complement one another," April says. "The lines of business do recognize there needs to be balance now. They're working collaboratively with their IT department, keeping them in the loop."

That, April says, represents an opportunity for CIOs to reinvent themselves as go-to experts and advisors for high-level strategic projects. For CIOs, that means understanding the business's strategic goals and communicating with non-IT business executives about how technology can support those business objectives.

"They need to speak the language of the business because this new generation of buyers doesn't want to hear about the technical implications of their purchases," April says.

At the same time, if CIOs are looped in, they are positioned to have a more expansive view of the organization's technology terrain. One of the downsides of decentralized IT purchasing is that you lose the benefits of bulk buying. CIOs with visibility into technology purchasing decisions across the lines of business can help coordinate such purchases.

Last, but not least, security and compliance remain a critical consideration, which supports the involvement of the IT function even if lines of business are making the purchases.


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