The World Is Shifting Beneath the CIO’s Feet

Take a minute to think of the CIO’s role in
your organization. As IT becomes an integrated part of the business – and not
just a tool the business uses – perhaps it’s time to retire the title or split
it into several others.

That’s the theory of Ann All at ITBusinessEdge. She writes that "many business-critical functions fall under the purview
of the CIO" and refers back to 2006, when one expert suggested the
role should be split into two: a chief process innovation officer and a chief
information technology officer
.

More recently, she says, there’s a move on to make CIOs
focus on process optimization. Other job title ideas heard at a recent
symposium include chief simplicity officer, chief organizational officer and strategy execution officer. "All seemed to hit upon the perennially
popular idea that CIOs need to promote the idea of technology as a business
enabler," says All.

As Robert Austin, author of Adventures of an IT Leader, told her: 

If
you come from a technical background, it’s a challenge to develop an
appropriately outward-looking sensibility. The classic problem for a technical
person is that, because you do feel expert in technical areas, in the moments
that you should be going and being consultative with the CEO, your reflex is to
go and hang with your team instead and help them solve the problem.

That’s so true. IT and the CIO really need to learn now to frame their work
as enabling business solutions, not just technological solutions.

— Don Willmott

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