The chief information officer (CIO) is often confused with the chief innovation officer, but when ZDNet spoke to Equinix CIO Brian Lillie, he said that encouraging innovation is a key part of the role.
Lillie thinks that CIOs should use technology to connect all the functions of the business, whether that be in sales and marketing, lead generation, operations and customer care, or finance.
Smart engineers should also be given more opportunities if an organisation wants to encourage innovation, and the CIO is largely responsible for making this happen.
"If you foster that culture within your own teams internally and you listen to your customers, you can actually come up with some pretty cool ideas," says Lillie.
Lillie has seen this in one of his own engineers who had an idea on a big data problem, and was encouraged to go for it: "He came back with an architecture that is significant in terms of moving the ball down the field."
"We were able to use it to solve a very specific problem, and it ended up that after we implemented it, we were able to shut off some systems and actually not renew some licences, and it ended up saving us money," he added.
Lillie also lists his top five priorities for CIOs of the future, and explains why they're so important.