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CIOs must become technology consultants

CIO Staff | March 24, 2014
If the 'old' CIO had a reputation of throwing up barriers, the 'new' CIO must focus on breaking down barriers to show marketing, finance, HR and other business leaders how IT services can help them become better within their particular operations.

Yet only 20 percent of C-level respondents say their finance departments have adopted leading-edge technology. New skills and analytics capabilities are needed to execute on modern finance's mandate, the study concludes. All of this makes a sales environment ripe for an internal tech consultant, such as the CIO.

"A good consultant comes at it from an industry and client perspective and with an outcome rather than with tools and technology," says Wilson. "I must not just be a technologist. I must be an articulate, collegiate business operator who also owns the technology responsibilities that enable the firm."

The new CIO will need to speak the language of the CFO, the CMO and even the CHRO.

Biggest Internal Client May Be HR

The HR function, too, is looking at a technology facelift with social tools for internal collaboration and external communication. Many CHROs are seeking transformative technologies in talent management and analytics.

Yet many CHROs lack a digital strategy. They're only beginning to apply analytics and social business to their processes. According to a recent IBM study, only 50 percent of the HR organizations surveyed use workforce analytics, with far fewer using predictive analytics to optimize decision making in areas such as sourcing and recruiting. Helping CHROs are at the top of the CIO's list this year, the IBM study concludes.

By now, it should be clear that CIOs must expand their role and be a consultant to the rest of the business, in addition to their current responsibilities. A recent study by Forrester found that the share of IT projects primarily or exclusively run by IT will decline from 55 percent in 2009 to 47 percent in 2015.

"Change in the CIO role is more prevalent now than at any point in my career," Wilson says, adding, "It's about running IT as a business."

What business would that be? A consultancy, of course.


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