Why every organization needs four CIOs

Why every organization needs four CIOs

Summary: Chief Infrastructure, Integration, Innovation or Intelligence Officer? CIOs now wear many hats.

TOPICS: CXO, IT Employment

We all know that the jobs of CIOs -- most commonly known as chief information officers -- are undergoing a dramatic transition. Now, it's fair to say the initials "CIO" have evolved to mean four different titles:


The "I's" have it: Ray Wang redefines the "I" in CIO.

  • Chief Infrastructure Officer
  • Chief Integration Officer
  • Chief Innovation Officer
  • Chief Intelligence Officer

That's the view of R. Ray Wang, tech visionary and partner with Constellation Research, who shared some of his insights at this week's SuiteWorld conference in San Francisco. [Disclosure: NetSuite has funded my travel and accommodation to be here].

All four roles have important mandates, he observes. Here's how these four roles fall out:

Chief Infrastructure Officer: This is the traditional CIO as we've know in, Ray says. "They’ve got 80% of the budget at most, with 60-80% going to keeping the lights on. "This is about cutting costs, this is about standardizing. This is about making things more efficient."

Chief Integration Officer: CIOs focusing on integration are trying to connect, says Ray. "This isn’t about connecting the mergers. This is even bigger than that. This is about taking that data and information and giving it to a supplier. This is about the customer interaction history.  It's about connecting customers and suppliers and partners outside the organization."

Chief Intelligence Officer: "This is about getting the right information to the right person at the right time with the right security model. It's 15-20% of the budget, but that's not the IT budget."

Chief Innovation Officer: "That's the person saying I'm going to try cloud. I'm going to try mobile apps. I'm going to try BYOD, bring your own devices. I'm going to change and create interesting business models."

There's no doubt many CIOs are assuming some parts of all four roles. And all four need each other.

Topics: CXO, IT Employment

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  • Maybe in his organization...

    ...but what is needed in most organizations is more people [i]actually doing the work[/i] as opposed to building fiefdoms, squabbling over turf, and generally creating [i]more[/i] unplanned and unaccounted-for work.
  • CIOs as pentathletes

    Joe, thanks for sharing your insight from the SuiteWorld conference. We see the transformation of the CIO's role, too. At clients we see the CIO performing something like a pentathlon with the disciplines talking business, mastering complexity, managing change, handling finances and mitigating risks. What we experience as essential is to make these disciplines a team effort and to avoid silos between the teams. As such with the right equipment and an integrated approach, the CIO can perform the different roles in one.