4 Personas of the Next-Generation CIO

A new breed of CIOs is emerging. Here's a look at four roles that CIOs will be asked to play, ranging from Chief Integration Officer to Chief Innovation Officer -- plus details on the required skills.

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Wed, March 02, 2011

CIO — Three factors have added up to a huge shift in the CIO role during the past five years—and CIOs who ignore these put their careers in peril, says a new report by Constellation Research.

First, consumer technology has out-innovated enterprise technologies, reducing the management influence of the CIO. Second, legacy systems implemented during the Y2K investment rush are hindering system upgrades. Finally, the pace of technology advancements has outpaced the ability to adopt.

CIOs of the future will no longer oversee multimillion dollar IT projects and lead organizational change through technology adoption, says Constellation Research CEO and analyst Ray Wang. Instead, the CIO definition will be broader, demanding that CIOs deliver more business value, profitability and market differentiation.

[For CIO magazine's latest research on the evolving CIO Role, see 2011 State of the CIO: IT Departments Are Fueling Company Growth Through Strategic Technology Investments]

While next-gen CIOs will emerge from traditional technology backgrounds as well as business-leader backgrounds with technology expertise, the report says, current CIOs will need to master four emerging personas in order to compete in the new environment.

CIOs who fail to evolve into these new roles, Wang says, will lose their functions to business teams. "Line of business executives are already starting to play CIO roles in many of the companies we work with," he says.

The new CIO role will balance externally focused activities with internally focused ones, and embody equal parts technology savvy and business savvy. Some CIOs may bring to the table expertise in one persona, but top CIOs will strive to master all four, he says.

[How CIOs Can Devise a Social Business Strategy]

Here are the four new personas of the new CIO and the skills you need to succeed, according to the report.

1. Chief "Infrastructure" Officer

Many CIOs are already familiar with this persona, according to Wang, and transitioning into it will be easy. These chief infrastructure officers focus on cost reduction, controlling 65 percent to 70 percent of the overall budget. Most projects prioritize keeping the lights on and managing legacy systems. These infrastructure officers tend to focus on the technology side and internal-facing activities, according to the report.

Wang says that the chief infrastructure officer persona is becoming a core competency, but less and less attention is being paid to it.

2. Chief "Integration" Officer

Also predicted to be an easy transition, this persona is used to managing just 5 percent to 10 percent of the overall budget and must bring together various business processes, data, systems, legacy systems and newer cloud-based approaches. Chief integration officers tend to focus on both the technology side and internally and externally facing activities.

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