With more organizations looking for IT alignment with the business, yesterday’s role of a CIO as just a strong technologist no longer applies. More business leaders are outsourcing technology solutions as software-as-a-service and cloud based delivery models become increasingly available. Research firm Gartner further highlights this trend, predicting that spending on IT from outside of the IT organization will grow from 20% of total IT spending in 2009 to 90% by 2020. This will drastically change the way that CIOs have to drive value in order to maintain their seat at the table.
CIOs must evolve if they want to remain viable. The cutting edge CIO should have many roles; as a services integrator, an advisor to the business, and an innovator. They must clearly communicate and collaborate the IT roadmap for an effective business strategy. Most importantly, CIOs need to embrace the new IT organization that runs faster and operates on less technology and decide what activities will drive innovation and value.
To avoid marginalization in the changing landscape of IT, the following new roles and responsibilities should be embraced:
- Transforming IT and Business Strategy – Today’s CIO works with smaller, strategic departments, and must help identify those opportunities that hold the greatest, long-term value for the business. CIOs need to convey to business leaders the transformative nature of big data and analytics tools, and develop a streamlined, cost-effective strategy that is business-IT aligned. The new CIO must master the emerging art of business model invention and process re-engineering.
- IT Architecture for Seamless IT and Business Integration – IT architecture is an important skill set for the new CIO. With many outsourced business and IT services, today’s CIO must ensure that the business and IT processes are well-codified, data definition standards are well-defined, and the processes to bring together all elements for successful deployment are well-documented. Without these assurances in place, businesses will experience costly downtime, and multiple outsourcing vendors will not have a seamless implementation.
- Leadership Role Crossing IT and Business Departments – Today’s most relevant CIO serves as strategic advisor and “facilitator of fulfillment” for the business. The effective CIO must develop and nurture relationships with multiple outsourcing vendors, and become the business’ orchestrator for external suppliers. Ultimately, IT must provide business value, and CIOs who maintain their seat at the table can provide the CEO and CFO calculations and analysis for return-on-investment, facilitate best value for the business, and lead the organization to key market opportunities and strategic partnerships. Effectively, CIOs must increase their strategic and operational value.
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