Charles Araujo believes the typical organisation today operates "very much in the industrial age even if we are living in an information economy".
There are a few exceptions, with some of the dotcom organisations, but organisations in general are not fully prepared for how disruptive technologies will be for businesses, says Araujo, who is the CEO of the IT Transformation Institute and author of the book The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change.
This has a double impact on IT professionals, and CIOs, in particular, he says. He says CIOs will be dealing with disruption within their organisation and also provide for the needs of groups they work with including customers.
"You need to lead the disruption, you need to be the disruptor," says Araujo, who is in New Zealand as a speaker for the Digital Catalyst Summit Series. "You need to be in front of this if you want to create value in the organisation, you can't afford to wait."
Araujo says when he speaks to IT professionals, he discusses different paths ahead for them.
One of them is they have to be able to compete to get a job with "the Microsofts, the Googles and the Amazons of the world".
Meanwhile, every organisation is going to keep some hardware technologies, the 20 per cent that is kept in-house. "Your other option would be to be the top 20 per cent of your domain," says Araujo. "So if you have 10 network engineers, you have to be the best two."
Another option is to transition to a business leader or relationship manager. "With the rare exception, most IT people are capable of making that transition if they chose to," says Araujo.
He believes the CIO role is going to become even more strategic and a "great pathway" to other roles.
He says a number of CIOs "have taken the leap" to a chief operating officer role. As well, some CIOs have taken on additional responsibilities, like being both CIO and COO.
CIOs are also coming from outside IT itself. He cites the case of the EVP and CIO of a large retail company who started as a store manager, then headed IT when the company opened stores in Europe. "He did an amazing job" which led to his global role.
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