Nick Carr connects some dots, leading to a conclusion that CIOs want to distance themselves from IT:
IT has become an albatross for CIOs. Smart ones are trying hard to distance themselves from "the technology" in order to escape the dead end of the data center. The CIO role is being repositioned in various ways: It's not about IT anymore; it's about "innovation" or "change management" or "process design" or "collaboration" or ... well, anything but IT. A few days ago, I met a well-respected CIO at an event, and the first thing she told me when we started talking about IT was, "I don't really see myself as being an IT person."
It's a continuation the theme/meme that Nick started with his "IT Doesn't Matter" essay, published in the Harvard Business Review in May 2003:
"Information technology is best understood as the latest in a series of broadly adopted technologies that have reshaped industry over the past two centuries - from the railroad to the telegraph to the electric generator. For a brief period, as they were being built into the infrastructure of commerce, all these technologies opened opportunities for forward-looking companies to gain real advantages. But as their availability increased and their cost decreased - as they became ubiquitous - they all became commodity inputs. From a strategic standpoint, they became invisible; they no longer mattered. That is exactly what is happening to information technology today, and the implications for corporate IT management are profound."
It could be that IT has become more tied into business goals (after years of ranting about aligning business and IT), and CIOs don't think of themselves as techies but as part of a team aligning with the latest business management buzzwords-- change management, process design, innovation, etc. It's still about IT, but in the context of moving fast and efficiently, increasing automation, investing to innovate and lowering the overall costs of doing business. When a CIO says that they don't think of themselves as an IT person, it doesn't mean that IT isn't critical to running a business. The context is changing...