We are reading quite a bit lately about how the Chief Digital Officer role is relegating the CIO to the operational sidelines. We are also hearing about how Chief Marketing Officers are spending more on technology than CIOs, who are now responsible solely for integration, security and support.
Does this mean that the CIO role is doomed to extinction? Should CIOs pack up their bags and go home? Certainly not! I am seeing something very different in the CIO’s future.
CIOs who have developed the credibility among the executive committee for operational excellence are finding an array of opportunities beyond the CIO role. These CIOs are finding new, expanded roles with titles like “Chief Shared Services Officer” and “Chief Business Process Officer” and as Hunter Jones can attest, “VP of Enterprise Services.”
Hunter Jones had been CIO of Cameron International, a $9B oil and gas equipment manufacture, from 2009 until 2012. Now, he has added VP of Enterprise Services to his CIO title.
What does the new title mean? “Sometimes I say that my new role is everything the CEO doesn’t want to do,” says Jones. But more seriously: Jones’s functional responsibility now includes IT, which he has always had, product R&D, global supply chain, HSE, Security, Corporate Quality and leadership over a major transformation project. His team of 600 has increased to 1400.
“For a while, Cameron was operating as a holding company,” says Jones, “but we made all of these acquisitions and realized that we needed to operate more like a corporation. We were missing out on opportunities to leverage some enterprise services because our business groups were all running their operations differently.”
When Jones became CIO, he occupied the company’s first shared services position as he pulled together multiple IT organizations into one centralized group. He also put in place a new governance model. “Early on, I realized that the wrong people were making decisions about IT,” Jones says. “As the business threw new requests at us, IT was put in the position of deciding what was important. “ So, Jones established a new governance model that put investment decisions in the hands of the business. “I guess that all of that worked pretty well,” says Jones, “because our CEO decided that he wanted to bring more services up to an enterprise level.”
Prior to his role as CIO, Jones had been VP of Operations for Cameron, so he had some familiarity with his new functional responsibilities. “I used the be the supply chain guy,” he says, “and I knew how to run a shared services organization, but I have a lot to learn about the other functions.”
For CIOs who would like to broaden their horizons and add new enterprise services to their roles, Jones has some advice.
1. Be sure you are running IT as a shared service. “If you have a model where IT is a profit center, or is its own business, you may not be ready to add more enterprise services to your role,” says Jones. “In our company, IT exists solely for the purpose of the other businesses. That’s the only reason we live. If I had the mentality that I’m my own business over here, I would not be able to run other enterprise functions.”
2. Develop your new leadership. “Don’t think you’re going to be the hero of each of the shared services,” says Jones. “You need a credible leader over each functional area if you’re going to be successful in an enterprise services role. When I took the new job, I was smart enough to know that I wasn’t all that smart. I needed to hire people who were experts in each of their areas.”
Some of Jones new direct reports were very tactical, and he needed them to be more strategic. Some of his leaders expanded their headcount by quite a bit in moving into their new role. A big part of Jones’ job since taking on enterprise services has been in working with his new leaders to grow the skills to work at a higher level.
3. Get a 360 view of the new organization. Jones’ first move when stepping into his new role was to put the organization down on paper. “What is this group really responsible for delivering? What are their top initiatives?” Once he had a basic sketch of the group and its responsibilities, he ran it by Cameron’s other senior business leaders. “It wasn’t clear to me at the beginning that everyone was on the same page about the goals of his new organization,” Jones says. “You cannot assume that everyone has the same expectations for what the shared services organization is going to deliver. Everyone has to buy into the concept of organization and its priorities if you are going to be successful.”
4.Not everything needs to be consolidated: Jones tapped each of his functional leaders to learn what governance models worked for them. If the governance structure was working well, he kept it in tact. “Don’t go crazy with consolidation,” cautions Jones. “If you try to have one consolidated enterprise services governance model, you’re going to wind up with the CFO in every meeting.”
CIOs who have the innovation gene can set their sights on roles like Chief Innovation Officer and Chief Digital Officer, but CIOs who are all about operational excellence and delivery are looking around the enterprise for more functional areas to add to their plates. My prediction is that in the next few years, we will see many more examples of CIOs, like Hunter Jones, who are now running a broad, comprehensive set of shared services.
About Hunter Jones and Cameron International
Hunter W. Jones is Vice President, Enterprise Services for Cameron. He joined Cameron in Cameron in 1996 as Manager Procurement Planning and has since held positions of increasing responsibility within Cameron, most recently as Vice President and Chief Information Officer. His range of experience with Cameron covers Operations, Quality, Supply Chain Management, Six Sigma and Procurement. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Florida.
Cameron is a leading provider of flow equipment products, systems and services to worldwide oil, gas and process industries. Leveraging its global manufacturing, engineering and sales and service network, Cameron works with drilling contractors, oil & gas producers, pipeline operators, refiners and other process owners to control, direct, adjust, process, measure and compress pressures and flows.
Martha Heller is CEO of Heller Search Associates, an IT executive recruiting firm specializing in CIO, CTO, CISO and senior technology roles in all industries. She is the author The CIO Paradox: Battling the Contradictions of IT Leadership and Be the Business: CIOs in the New Era of IT. To join the IT career conversation, subscribe to The Heller Report.