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CIO head-to-head: To own or not to own?

CIO Staff (CIO) | April 25, 2014
CIOs discuss if they are accountable for IT governance

We ask three CIOs if they still own, or are accountable for, IT governance when line of business functions are increasing their knowledge and use of technology services.

Q: Ownership versus accountability: How much of each does the modern CIO need?

Ben Patey, CIO, CSC

I don’t view these terms as mutually exclusive; they go hand-in-hand. I also believe both these terms are of increasing importance but it is the scope of ownership and accountability that is going to be crucial and is shifting dramatically for the modern CIO ... the successful, gainfully employed ones at least.

We have typically owned, and have been equally accountable for, the internal IT environments that provide services to our customers. By and large these systems sat within our four walls. We could get our arms around the cabinets, feel the cool air of the aircon and marvel at the kilometres of cables tying our networks and boxes all together.

A serious revolution is upon us or possibly leaving us behind. The next generation of IT services that will deliver the value our businesses and customers crave are very different beasts.

Our customers/business/executive want us to do more and more with less and less, and they want us to do it more quickly than ever before. So how do we keep up with this demand for rapid, agile IT solutions and services? We know if we don’t keep up our customer will go do it themselves right? Well, if you can’t beat them join them.

We need to start thinking about how we reshape our legacy internal environments into hybrid internal/external hosted IT ecosystems that can deliver to the new normal of fast, agile and mobile but at the same time always fastidiously governing the sanctity of our key corporate information.

In essence, we need to think more about ‘outside in’ models of IT innovation, solutions, engagement and operation and less about the potentially restrictive internal hardware/software models we may use now.

Our ownership and accountability will need to change focus as a consequence to embrace these ‘outside in’ models that will deliver the competitive advantage our business/customers are demanding.

David Gee, CIO, Credit Union Australia

It is clear to me that in an emerging world of cloud orchestrated services, the whole past IT model is under considerable challenge. My view is that the CIO needs to be first and foremost focused on driving accountability within his team.


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