by Mark Chillingworth

CIO role at no risk in information led future

Mar 08, 20122 mins

Another month another vendor sponsored report claiming that the CIO role will disappear within five years. Considering the acronym means information technology it has never ceased to amaze me how few IT commentators focus on the information. 
CIO again is another acronym concerning information and true enough there are those in the role that carry the badge but are not information driven. The CIO role will not and cannot die out in the next five years. We have lived in an information rich society for decades and the next few will see information richness deepen. 
CIOs at organisations in markets such as finance, government, travel and manufacturing are creating business value and competitive advantage for their organisations through delivering information services. A single customer view that understands the multiple ways a customer interacts with an organisation in today’s multi-channel environment is a complex information and technology task that uses the best skills of the best CIOs, not the governance and spending restriction skills of a CFO. Competition increases year on year and information enables real time decision making to win custom that could be lost. Retailers, manufacturers and telcos are already pioneering this, led by their CIOs. 
Information levels will increase with machine-to-machine and SIM automation, big data won’t be a future challenge, it will be the norm. With increased information levels comes the need for greater control to protect your vital customers and their data. Consumerisation, cloud computing and new regulations place the onus on good information management, not cost management. 
A vendor argues in Julian Goldsmith’s CIO blog that the CFO has a better understanding of business issues than a CIO. If this is the case, then the organisation has the wrong CIO. Albert Hitchcock and David Wall in this issue are key to the operations of their organisations. This criticism may be true of many IT managers, but the CIO title demands the need to be business centric. 
The vendor community would be better placed to look at reshaping its business models away from licences and sales to a service model, rather than throwing stones at the CIO’s glasshouse. 
Cloud computing models are undoubtedly reshaping the provision of IT and in doing so they are creating a business demand for CIOs to ensure organisations seize the opportunities presented to them by one of their greatest assets – information.