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The future role of the CIO

date: 8 September 2016
reading time: 3 min

Since the role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) was created, it has adapted in many ways. The CIO is responsible for various aspects of a company, ranging from educating other members of the board to ensuring that the business’ IT system is not at risk. 

The CIO is also accountable for the financials and strategies of the company, with the aim of limiting damage and increasing company profits. Due to the various roles that the CIOs have, and the mission-critical nature of their responsibility, the risk of failure is high.  A CIO needs to have an overview at all times of the risks that are currently threatening the business, alongside the future risks that will be created with the development of new technology. For all these reasons and more, the role of the CIO is still evolving and will continue to do so in years to come.

Here are just a few of our predictions as to role of the CIO and how it may change in the next few years:

Change of strategy and operations

The evolving role of a CIO from an IT leader into an IT-business leader will have a ripple effect on the reporting chain and affect the strategy and operations of the whole corporate technology unit. The CIO’s attention will need to expand from the IT of the business to the overarching business strategy.

Increase in partnerships

The increasing business demands and pressures for the IT team to take advantage of emerging technologies will lead to an increased need for partnerships and outsourcing. IT departments will struggle to find enough qualified resources to help the organisation solve its business problems and achieve its objectives, so will need to search for solutions outside the business.

Evaluating future threats

Next generation CIOs will need to be much more than just technology leaders, their roles will be much more about managing risk. CIOs will need to be leaders and agents of change that understand each part of the organisation well, and are able to act upon threats, challenges and opportunities, rather than fixating singularly on current threats to the business.

Boardroom influence

Apart from having extensive knowledge about IT, CIOs will need to become business strategy experts that are able to steer and influence the executive board. Alongside this, CIOs will need to take the organisation out of its comfort zone to ensure the company is maximising its competitive opportunities offered by technology, in a risk-free environment.

CIOs as visionary thinkers

Finally, it will be essential for these well-rounded professionals to have a full spectrum of additional skills and abilities, including collaboration, intercultural communication and management, being much more of a visionary and an inspirer of innovation.

All in all, no matter our predictions, one thing’s for certain – the role of a CIO will become very demanding but also an equally exciting and influential one.

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