CIOs are in a state of flux but it's just cultural

Technology is changing. The consumerisation of enterprise IT is putting pressure on CIOs to change how they operate.

So how do CIOs retain relevance in a world where business executives buy their own devices and expect to be able to connect to enterprise apps anytime, anyplace?

Steve Nice CTO at IT services firm Reconnix wrote this guest blog in the subject.

The Changing Role of the CIO

By Steve Nice

“The role of the CIO in 2014 is in a state of flux. CIOs are increasingly becoming overlooked, ignored or side-lined by their fellow c-suite executives, despite increasing reliance on technology, and therefore the IT department, to ensure the success of businesses the world over.

Reconnix recently commissioned research, the results of which highlighted how technological advancement will affect current CIOs. A striking 73 per cent of IT leaders were unsure that the CIOs of today will be the right people to lead IT within UK businesses in the next five. This begs the question why do CIOs feel so disenfranchised and detached from the decision making process?

Unsurprisingly it is those who are stuck in their ways and reluctant to drive change that feel most at risk. Gartner has stated that only 18% of CIOs are responsible for digital. This statistic is clearly far from ideal given the increasingly digital nature of the world.  A new generation of CIO, who drives the corporate culture away from digital deficiency, is helping re-address this. At the same time our research indicates 37% of today’s IT leaders still believe that not enough is being done within their organisations or the industry to guarantee that future CIOs will have the skills needed to achieve business objectives.

Most importantly, with trends such as mobility, cloud collaboration and BYOX still on the rise CIOs must understand the ways that new technologies can, and do, help facilitate business efficiency and flexibility. Cloud computing services for example benefit the CIO, and by extension the business, by offering improved collaboration, as well as reducing the complexity of the IT infrastructure.

As much as the technology is important, it’s also a question of engagement. If a CIO is stuck in their ways then they, and their business, will be left by the wayside whereas a forward thinking CIO, who engages with the board, will help produce real change. This is why it is essential for CIOs to be able to communicate effectively with other department leads in the organisation. The best communication is multi-directional – the CIO will need to take on board what other areas of the business need to succeed and interpret how to achieve these goals with technology solutions.

It’s as much a cultural shift than anything else. If IT leaders approach their role as delivering ‘Business as a Service’, if they push an open, innovative agenda whilst persuading the board how change will benefit their aims, but also the wider aims of the business, then their position as a future CIO will be cemented.”