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GE CIO Jim Fowler talks collaboration and IT transformation

Matt Kapko | Aug. 22, 2016
GE’s Jim Fowler this week spoke with to discuss collaboration tools, shifting IT priorities and why the traditional CIO role is going away.

[Related: GE's Jim Fowler on the CIO role in the digital industrial economy]

As a function, and as a leadership role, CIOs are at a crossroads, he says. "We're at this fork in the road where you're going to have CIOs who want to be the traditional IT leader in the back office, back of the house, head down, under the radar, running things — and I think those jobs are going to go away," Fowlers says. "Or you're going to have a set of CIOs who are going to pull their chair up to the boardroom table and say: ‘Guys, I actually know your business better than you do. I know how it runs, I know your processes and there is a better way.'"

By 2025, enterprise technology leaders won't be CIOs or IT leaders, at least not in the traditional sense, according to Fowler. CIOs will have to become commercial leaders, he says. "You're either going to become more commercially oriented to position yourself to be the business leader of the future or, frankly your job is just going to be absorbed into every other function … and you're going to have a hard time justifying why you exist in the organization."


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