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The New CIO: Chief “Information.. urm What” Officer?

Salaina Haroon | Feb. 22, 2017
With the advent of the cloud and big data, defining the CIO role gets more complex

The role of the CIO has never been more challenging than it is today, whether the CIO sits in telecom or manufacturing, aviation or banking, health or logistics. With the overwhelming amounts of big data, the advent of cloud, the digitization of enterprises and everyone buried in their devices and risks at an all time high in the age of social, who is the new CIO? Who needs to report to him?

Traditionally it was a tight circle of the CEO/CFO/CIO/CISO. But lately tradition seems to be flying out the door for enterprises that need to be forward thinking. Cloud, quality assurance, risk, the so many platforms as services and many many more words that the CIOs dictionary needs to have, the team reporting to him needs to include the following. Either that or the CIO just got himself four more jobs if he isn’t already doing the job of CISO.. We’re doing a round up of what roles the CIO needs to be looking at today for a sound future enterprise tomorrow. To start of, we’re discussing the Chief Data Officer.

The Chief Data Officer is one of the emerging executive roles gaining traction in some sectors, with research firm Gartner's latest headline-grabbing prediction that 90% of large organizations will have a Chief Data Officer role by 2019. The role is emerging and not yet fully established - Gartner estimates the number of CDOs and Chief Analytics Officers doubled in 2015 to 1,000, up from 400 in 2014.There is no blueprint for starting a new Chief Data Officer role however, although the above-mentioned analyst and consultancy house has produced a roadmap for the first 100-day 'honeymoon' period designed to help new CDOs establish themselves and create perceptions about the new function. Beyond the advice of prepare, assess, plan, act, measure and communicate, the CDO’s main function is to sell data vision.

Chief Data Officer at The Economist, Stephane Pere, said that selling the use case for the role was crucial. "When I got the job there was no agenda, no goal or job description," he said. "I was a sales guy selling banner ads and pages for years so now I'm selling the data vision. "I now think of data as a product, data as an enabler, then data as a service and maybe eventually data as a business. Don't think data as a new revenue stream, but a way to reinforce your current business models."

Chief IoT Officer

A recent study of 500 UK CEOs and senior decision makers entitled “IoT: Risk or Reward?” conducted by security company Webroot and data centre organisation IO suggested more than half of businesses surveyed (54%) plan to employ a Chief IoT Officer in the next year.  But is a Chief IoT officer really needed? And if so, what would they do, who would they report to and how would they fit into the existing organizational structure? There is a clearly a lot of confusion about how IoT will work in practice and as a consequence a lot of people on LinkedIn are jumping on the bandwagon and labelling themselves as an “IoT Evangelist”. The most challenging aspect of the Internet of Things is it touches on so many different areas of the business. This is precisely why so many organizations struggle to understand how it will work in practice and what a Chief IoT Officer may be required to do. The role would more likely default to a CIO report – and the IoT should not primarily be about IT, but about transforming the way an organisation carries out its business.


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