Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Static Role of the CIO

Frankly, I am growing tired of hearing about the changing role of the CIO. It's the same tired story being told over and over again. It is no different than the heralding of all of the other dramatic changes in technology, each supposedly changing all the rules and creating new challenges and opportunities for business.

Why do we single out these particular senior leaders and judge them by standards different from the other members of the C-Suite?  Surely the tools and techniques, problems and issues the CFO deals with have evolved over time as they have for the head of Marketing, Sales and business leaders in general.  Yet, the people who occupy these senior roles have not been repeatedly threatened with extinction.

Could it be because the members of the C-Suite are not focused on the tools of their trade but rather bring their knowledge, experience and discipline to bear on those most critical aspects of running the business and meeting their specific criteria for success? Sales, quality, customer satisfaction and, yes, even profitability are some of the key concerns of these top managers. They strive to please their customers, shareholders and employees.

As a member of the C-Suite this is what a true Chief Information Officer focused on 20 years ago and what CIOs will focus on 20 years from now.

Whether your data center is in the basement or the cloud is not the issue. Is it operating efficiently, with speed and agility? Waterfall, agile, extreme or whatever may come next is not the question but rather, are the developers delivering the capability to run the business? Buy or build is not the question. Are we investing our limited capital in the manner which generates the best overall return.

I would argue simply, if your focus has been on managing technology and not managing the business, you never were a CIO.

Captain Joe

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