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Project Portfolio Management

The Changing Role of the CIO – From Technologist to Business Strategist

Published By Kevin Kern

An article published by about the modern day CIO and the challenges that they face resonated with us for several reasons.  First, the talent pool for the position as ascribed in the article differs a bit from years past.  Secondly, the characteristics and requirements for this role are shifting and lastly, the expectations for the modern day CIO, by business leaders has evolved prompting a new paradigm for staffing the position.

The CIO requirements for today’s IT leaders consist of stronger business acumen versus the traditional technical proficiencies required in past years. It’s not good enough to be a guru in technology given the business demands and decisions that CIO’s are responsible for in today’s fluctuating environment.  Consider the impact on IT with the new cloud computing offerings that are being introduced into the marketplace.  If you believe that most of the sustaining, non strategic work that CIO’s were chartered with managing in past years is now being outsourced then it follows that the skill set would probably demand modification.

One of the past challenges for CIO’s was always to have a “seat at the table” when it came to impacting business strategy and direction but often could take years to gain the trust of senior management.  Things have changed.

Today’s executives are far more tech savvy and don’t require as much hand holding.  The technology skill set once required to source CIO’s will continue to shift from traditional technology backgrounds to other management functions.  The importance of connecting the advantages of technology to real business problems is now a critical characteristic of the makeup of the modern day CIO.  Buying and using technology for the sake of it is a dead thought process in 2011.  Connecting the dots between the tools and the value to users is here to stay.

The impact of globalization, recession, cloud computing, and IT governance requirements on CIO’s today are impacting the role and the skill set for the better.  IT should always have a “seat at the table” to ensure that the available technologies are impacting the business in the right ways.

Big changes ahead to be sure, but the one thing that won’t change is the importance of the CIO role to any organization regardless of the shifting demands of the position.

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Written by Kevin Kern