by Maryfran Johnson

New Table Stakes for the CIO

Apr 17, 20123 mins

The "big five" tech megatrends--cloud, mobile, social, consumer IT and big data--will render the CIO obsolete, or so they say. CIO magazine's editor in chief Maryfran Johnson says we've heard this before. The CIO role isn't going away, but there are new jobs you'll have to do.

There’s never been any shortage of advice for CIOs–it’s coming from every corner of the vendor community, from every analyst with a research report to sell, from every self-appointed IT expert with a blog to flog.

The CIO profession has been declared dead or dying dozens of times in the last 25 years, with each dire prediction sounding sillier than the last. The latest version of this old story is that the rise of the “big five” tech megatrends (cloud and mobile computing, social media, IT consumerization and big data) will render the CIO obsolete as empowered business users rush off to buy their own computing services with no pesky IT department getting in their way.

Nonsense like that actually makes our jobs here at CIO magazine even more entertaining than usual. It sparks lively discussions within the IT executive community. It fuels an unflinching willingness among CIOs to find new ways for IT to accelerate business. And it drives the evolution of the most critical leadership role in the C-suite.

Considering that the Wall Street Journal recently launched a special online section devoted to CIOs, I’d say this job has never been more front-and-center in the global business community. (Welcome to our space, WSJ. What took you so long?)

“Without IT, business dies,” writes Senior Editor Kim S. Nash in our cover story, “Top CIOs Predict Future of the CIO Role.” “CIOs are not going away. But what will the job become?”

We found that answer–along with some surprising twists–in talking to the newest members of our CIO Hall of Fame and some of the winners of our Ones to Watch awards. This annual competitive program honors 25 rising stars who are likely to be the CIOs of the future, while the Hall of Fame celebrates the achievements of the most influential IT leaders.

In writing about the CIOs of the future, we aren’t waving our hands over any crystal balls. Many of these evolved CIOs are visible today, and the CEOs of the most successful companies are regularly seeking them out. These CIOs are carving a path toward the five vital roles that will redefine this position in the years to come: entrepreneur, connector, futurist, master of business metrics and global talent scout.

These are the new table stakes for the multifaceted, politically astute, innovative business executive who just happens to be the CIO. Welcome to your future.

Maryfran Johnson is the editor in chief of CIO Magazine & Events. Email her at