Diplomat, services orchestrator: A CIO job description five years from now

Predictions about the changing roles of chief information officers: Less technology management, more business management.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Chief information officers — as well as other IT leaders — will be less hands-on tech specialists, and more high-level consultants to their businesses. They won't be completely controlling technology budgets, but still will be responsible for the security, scalability, and reliability of any technology the business uses.

In recent posts here at this site, we've discussed the possibilities of CIOs sharing technology initiatives with the likes of "chief digital officers" and chief marketing officers. Also, cloud computing positions IT leaders less as technology shop managers and more as high-level consultants responsible for identifying and procuring both external and internal technology resources.

What's the future job description of the chief information officer going to look like a couple of years from now? Antonio Piraino, CTO of ScienceLogic provided this glimpse of rising skills in a post at IDG Connect:

    • Less technology-exertion, more people-insertion: "The customer is the focus of the CIO strategy, not the product/infrastructure," said Piraino.

    • Less power broker, more services orchestrator: Here we see the shift from technology guru to business guru, Piraino said. "The CIO will be more responsible for financials, legalities, security, and extensibility of services, and less responsible for technical robustness, integration, and infrastructure operations (including governance policies)."

    • Less concession, more compliance: Given the global nature of business, there will need to be greater attention paid to various government regulations and mandates. Local cloud computing laws are a prime example. Piraino elevates this discussion way above merely filling out forms and delivering reports: "As cloud computing use grows, governments will become more involved in regulation, creating a worldwide opportunity for CIOs to change their job role to that of an international power broker, ambassador, and even diplomat."

    • Less security, more protection: Again, global business demands global leadership. "CIOs need to become experts in cybersecurity and the nuances amongst different countries."

    • Less cost, more work: IT systems are getting more complex, and sprawl is on the rise. "Centralizing control of data and applications through centralized management systems, as well as the use of virtual desktop, are areas that CIOs are becoming far more engaged in."

    • Less reaction, more vision: CIOs are moving to "the role of proactive defender of proprietary business concerns, and also that of creator of new business productivity tools and information that help us get ahead of the market we're after".

(Thumbnail photo credit: Joe Mckendrick.)

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