Best Argument: Yes
Audience Favored: Yes (73%)
More important than ever
There's no denying the role of the CIO has changed, but Forrester would argue that it is more important than ever before. In the age of the customer, firms need to serve increasingly tech-savvy, connected, and powerful customers. That requires top-notch technology, systems, and processes that help win, serve, and retain those customers. Going forward, this will be the primary role of CIOs.
The CIO job is not about keeping the lights on anymore; in this new world, successful CIOs will work with their business peers to co-create digital customer experiences,products, and services. These disruptive CIOs will become agents of change who arm the business with the data and technologies it needs to meet its customers digital needs anytime, anywhere and disrupting its business model — before others do.
Can all of today's CIOs make this shift? No. But the role of the CIO will absolutely remain essential for the foreseeable future.
Special Report: The Battle for the Soul of IT
On borrowed time
Today's chief information officer is living on borrowed time. While the title of CIO isn't about to disappear anytime soon, the role itself is undergoing a historic transformation. The tension between the CIO's vital twin roles -- as 1) tech innovator and 2) keeper of the infrastructure -- is becoming untenable as IT moves more to the cloud and digital business becomes a top priority. Today's companies increasingly need a tech visionary that leads the business from the front, even while they still desire a safe but otherwise staid hardware and software manager keeping the back office humming and ensuring business continuity.
External forces are disrupting the role of the CIO as well, from cheap outsourcing providers and free app stores to highly competitive new startups that are bringing disruptive new technology and business models to their doorstep. With more and more tech responsibility moving out from the CIO role to business units, the CMO, and the new chief digital officer, the role of CIO is facing real dislocation today.