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Where is modern IT heading?

Thornton May | Sept. 23, 2014
Put 100 CIOs in a room and ask them that question and you'll get no consensus.

Reason three is that outside of IT, what we do inside of IT is not perceived as being particularly modern. Anything but, in fact. Our discipline, more likely than not, is viewed as being the antonym of modern — behind the times. I want to rebrand IT as being part of the future as opposed to being stigmatized as apart from the future. The general narrative pulsing on the four screens that comprise modern existence today portray a Manichean world where IT is slow and stupid, speaks in tongues (geek speak), and has no idea about how the business makes money (or achieves its mission, in the not-for-profit arena). This portrayal is ludicrous. The CIO is one of the most important members of the executive team, if not the most important. I believe "modern" CIOs should be paid more — much more. But that is a subject for another article.

No consensus

If you put 100 senior IT executives in a room (as we just did at Ohio State University) and ask them where modern IT is heading, you will not get a consensus answer. Even if you assemble CIOs from the same vertical market, as we did with public-sector CIOs at the FLGISA 2014 Annual Conference and the GMIS 2014 Annual Conference, and ask them what modern IT looks like, you will not get a consensus answer.  

Responses exist on a spectrum from "IT disappears" to "IT pulls a Putin and takes over." Linglong He, the award-winning, high-energy and spectacularly charismatic CIO at Quicken Loans, told students and faculty at Ohio State that "technology is the driver. Business is the passenger." This in marked contrast to the CIO at a high-performing utility who raised the question of whether the CIO — essentially the EVP/SVP of information — will face the same career extinction as the now departed and forgotten 19th century chief electricity officer. 

I welcome your thoughts and comments as we move forward in our examination of where modern IT is heading.


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