Video interview: Get ready to decentralise the CIO

As technology becomes more embedded in business the IT function could become decentralised.

In a video interview with Computer Weekly, Forrester principal analyst John McCarthy said: “As tech is more and more embedded in the business, IT will migrate out. There may be a technical architect [working for] sales and marketing.”

The future is potentially bleak for some CIOs, he said, as gradually their title will change and they will manage a shrinking portfolio of legacy systems.

In fact, the Forrester report, Tracking the renegade technology buyer, warns that the IT function in business could end up as a two-tier structure.

In the report, McCarthy wrote: “By taking ownership and funding of the customer engagement agenda, high-spending business execs will create a two-tier model where traditional IT ends up as the custodian of the traditional back-end enterprise resource planning (ERP) type systems of record. 

"Over time, IT will become much less of a blue-collar run and built organisation, and much more of a white-collar shop focused on design, orchestration and integration, with more of the integration focused on external business partners and public cloud services.”

The bulk of IT expenditure will be in the business, he told Computer Weekly. “The business will spend its own money on IT because technology is too important for the business not to be involved, and [managers] want to be in control of it.

However, he does not expect the role of CIO to be marginalised: “IT is too important to do centrally – we need to do technology in every business unit.”

McCarthy predicted that businesses will organise IT around clusters, such as sales and marketing, product development and operations/human resources.

“The notion of [an organisational] stove pipe model are over. We see a clustered model where sales, marketing, product development and customer service all work together on a particular product line. IT is just one aspect,” he said.

GE, with its "industrial internet" vision, is one example of a company putting IT at the forefront of its business strategy. At a recent event in London, its tech-savvy CEO, Jeff Immelt, said: "I don't see GE becoming a software company, but software is part of our service business. Our goal is to drive more technology."

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