CIO 2.0 – The Chief ‘Integrationist’

CIO 2.0 – The Chief ‘Integrationist’

In a recent blog from ThinkFWD, the author asked the confronting question – does CIO stand for ‘career is over’?

The key premise of this article is that the role of the CIO is in a state of flux, possibly even defunct given how many of its responsibilities are being absorbed elsewhere. Cloud computing is seen as a primary driver of this change, with hardware and software previously installed onsite, under the responsibility of the traditional CIO, now being offered as an outsourced service, with Marketing, HR or Corporate Affairs often controlling the purse strings.

The article suggests that, rather than ‘whisper to one another over drinks at the end of the conference’, ambitious CIOs must interact more closely with the C-Suite, advising ‘front-footed CIOs’ to abandon the role of merely managing technology, to better focus on strategy, information intelligence and technology innovation.

While I agree with many of the sentiments expressed in this blog, I see the primary challenge for CIOs being how best to engage with the C-suite so their strategic value to the business is understood. I believe the answer lies in redefining the ‘I’ in CIO.

Charles Darwin said, “It’s not the strongest of the species that survive, … but the most responsive to change.” So how best can CIOs respond to this existential crisis? By recognising the ‘I’ in CIO stands for ‘Integration’.

The new generation CIO 2.0 understands their role has transformed from information provider into chief ‘Integrationist’ – responsible for orchestrating then conducting all of the inputs: technology, applications, information, business processes, people in roles, plus 3rd party customers and suppliers, into one coherent outcome that delivers on their business’ strategic objectives.

The chief ‘Integrationist’ is a multi-disciplinary role, and the CIO 2.0 is exceptionally well positioned, in fact perhaps the only senior role with the necessary combination of breadth, perspective and can-do capability to successfully deliver the high degree of integration required in today’s ‘outsource to the cloud’ economy.

Expectations are high and the challenges daunting, but I believe that understanding and embracing the responsibilities of this new chief ‘Integrationist’ role will make the CIO 2.0 more critical at the top table than ever before.

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