The Ever Changing Role of the CIO

Carl WilsonThe roles of IT and CIO’s in particular are undergoing significant change. The traditional perception of IT simply reacting to the implementation of predetermined requirements set out by the business can no longer be perpetuated if an organization wants to thrive and survive in the modern world. In today’s world the role of IT and the CIO is no longer just to support the business strategy, but to help shape the business strategy.

We are witnessing a fundamental shift in how CIOs in high growth companies are being integrated as members of the senior executive team, proactively involved in setting strategy and solving business problems – not just technology issues. Today’s CIOs are being asked to put the processes in place to enable commercial agility and allow for dynamic change. Clearly, those organizations best suited to adaptability stand the greatest chance of success in a global economy that continues to undergo changing business practices at an unprecedented rate.

At the same time, core CIO responsibilities remain. They still need to keep the IT environment running at peak efficiency, keep costs down, and mitigate risks. That said, today’s CIOs have to balance their historical role of improving IT services and the introduction of new technology with new responsibilities that directly influence business strategy.

As such, conflicting responsibilities are emerging: new innovative ideas have to be realized practically, costs have to be reduced while business value is raised, and the CIO not only has to lead and inspire the IT team, but also champion the strategic importance of IT within the organization as a whole. In some respects, the CIO title may be changing to CAO: Chief Adaptability Officer.

Carl Wilson: former CIO of Marriott and member of FrontRange’s Board of Directors