Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

The chief confused officer

Rob Livingstone | April 25, 2014
What exactly is the role of the CIO?

Much has been said about the role of the CIO.

Some say CIO is an acronym for ‘career is over’, others see the CIO role being progressively eclipsed by the related, co-dependent roles of the chief marketing officer (CMO), chief digital officer (CDO), chief knowledge officer (CKO), chief information and security officer (CISO) or chief innovation officer (CIO).

Whether the title CIO exists or not is a distraction from the real issue of how the organisation as a whole effectively balances and optimises the competing demands of, and for, enterprise technologies and their related business processes and risks.

The spectrum of demands placed on enterprise IT are well known and include greater project throughput, agility and speed, iPad like functionality for all, effective governance, risk management and low cost.

While it’s widely understood information technology pervades and supports the operation of almost every aspect of the organisation, the real challenge facing executives across all functions and at all levels is that interdependencies between differing systems, technologies, information taxonomies, governance and risk profiles are often not clearly understood or acknowledged.

Whether the technologies used by the organisation are managed and hosted internally in the organisation’s internal data centre, hosted externally or in the cloud, managed in-house or outsourced, the need to understand these underlying relationships is no less important.

Technology’s democratisation is reshaping whole industries and markets, forcing organisations to rethink their internal structures and processes on how best to utilise technology in order to remain competitive and relevant.

This is where the old world of enterprise IT meets the new, hyper-connected digital world full of expectations and new demands.

Federate enterprise IT environments by all means in response, but don’t forget to federate the accountability for enterprise governance and risk.

Which executive is explicitly accountable for the cost, value and risk associated with the use and deployment of the enterprise’s information and communications technologies?

For example, if the CIO is accountable for the IT software, hardware and infrastructure, the CFO for cost and enterprise risk, the sales director for margin, value and revenue, how are the linkages and relationships between these portfolios defined?

The reinforcement of the vertical (functionally aligned) silos and similar intra-company divisional boundaries starve the CIO of the necessary visibility and oxygen, resulting in limited capacity to deliver enterprise-wide, transformational and innovative value.

In this discussion, value should trump cost. If your organisation’s IT management mandate is the reverse, what are you, as CIO, doing to influence and change that model in the minds of the c-suite?


1  2  Next Page 

Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.