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The “Future State” CIO
1 April 2014

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According to a CIO Executive Council White Paper, “Executive Competencies and the Future-State CIO”, The Future-State CIO is a chief information officer who has built a sound foundation of operational excellence, aligned IT with the business and enabled initiatives that transform how the enterprise operates.

In 2007 the CIO Executive council commenced a program to define the future of the CIO role as a strategic business partner, not just head of all things technology.

Whereas in the past the traditional role of the head of technology was the expert in delivering technology, in today’s world the CIO is the specialist in the application of technology to the business, particularly business processes and improving their efficiency in line with the company’s goals.

“Increasingly we are seeing the need for the CIO to be proficient in communication, project management and sales techniques” says Martin Hale, CEO of IT Masters “The role of the CIO is now not only to connect with their IT staff but also the ongoing need to contribute the business on many levels”

As cloud services gain prominence, the CIO’s role has required a further transformation.  A company which has outsourced a great deal of its technology requires a CIO who manages a portfolio of services, whether they are delivered by a third party or in-house.  Bloomberg Businessweek notes:

“The CIO’s job is akin to a circus ringmaster balancing business needs against an incoming stream of opportunities—and risks—delivered directly to line departments. Software design and installation are replaced by service analysis for data security, systems availability, and responsiveness.”

CIO of Siemens Financial Services, Steve Mason who had been head of finance, believes a good head of IT has to understand the key business issues in order to decide where technology can assist.  “So it is about the IT function using technology to solve business problems rather than technology being the be all and end all,” Mason says.

Further highlighting the change in a CIO’s role, Bloomberg Businessweek also notes, “the successful CIO needs an intimate idea of how current technology can increase the company’s sales and not just reduce costs or improve clerical productivity.”  In doing so, the CIO can become a strategic force in their company.