Engage, engage, engage

Much has been written about the CMO-CIO relationship recently. According to Gartner CMOs will soon outspend CIOs on IT, while some industry commentators have even gone as far as claiming the CIO will end up either reporting to the CMO or being replaced by their marketing peer altogether. And then there’s the growing trend of organisations creating the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) role reporting directly to the CEO and with a remit of driving digital transformation. A role some would argue should lie at the heart of the CIO’s responsibilities.

Should CIOs be worried about these developments? Do the articles, studies and opinion columns have any truth to them? And if so, what do CIOs need to do to ensure they have a role to play in shaping the digital future of their organisations?

You can read the rest of this post on The CIO Leader, my site for business-focused technology leaders.

The CIO: broker of technology, driver of value

This was one of the key messages in CA Technologies CEO Mike Gregoire’s keynote speech to around 5,000 business leaders at this year’s CA World event in April. Gregoire explained that trends such as consumerisation have shifted the focus of enterprise IT away from the size of its data centre, number of servers, etc. to the value that technology has and can add to the organisation.

And with this change in focus comes a change in what the business expects from its CIO. Gregoire encouraged CIOs to embrace these changes by reinventing their role to one where they act as a broker providing access to technology that will help drive value for their organisations.

You can read the rest of this post on The CIO Leader, my site for business-focused technology leaders.

CIOs and digital: are you serious?

I went to the Harvey Nash CIO Survey 2013 launch event yesterday. As last year it was a very good event with some great insights from the survey; very entertaining speakers and an opportunity to network and catch up with fellow CIOs before and after the presentations and panel session.

If you follow me on Twitter (@ij_cox) you will know that I was live tweeting during the presentations and panel session. However, from a quick look at the hashtag for the event (#hnciosurvey) it appears that in a room full of around 150-200 CIOs and senior IT professionals I was one of the only people doing so. In fact the vast majority of the tweets sent during the event came from just six accounts, two of which belong to subsidiaries of Harvey Nash (@MortimerSpinks and @AlumniFIN) and one to the Editor in Chief of CIO Magazine (@ciouk).

In terms of individuals notable mentions go to Maria Ingold (@MariaIngold) and Ash Mahmud (@Ash_Force) who along with me complete the top 6 tweeters. After the top 6 there were only a handful of attendees who tweeted anything at all. And this is not the first CIO event I’ve been to where only a small number of people engage with each other on social media.

Is this the same group of people that believe they have a role to play in helping drive digital innovation within their organisations? Can they do this with any credibility if they do not use these tools in the same way that people in other functions and, quite possibly, their own departments use them? Events such as last night are now multi-channel; it’s about being in the room and online. And it’s the same for businesses – we operate in a multi-channel environment with our colleagues, partners and customers. CIOs should embrace this if they are to have any credibility in the digital debate.

Some CIOs are worried about the growing involvement of the CMO in deciding how and what technology is used. If only 3 out of 150 of us engage in social media during a key CIO event, they are quite right to be worried.

Every cloud … why IT departments are more important than ever

Rewind just over 12 months when there were numerous articles proclaiming the end of the CIO role within five years; IT departments would be bypassed by CFOs and CMOs purchasing cloud services directly from vendors and without the involvement of the internal IT function.

I argued against this view in a number of articles on this site. In What is it with the CIO role… I explained how selecting and managing multiple service providers was a key element of the CIO role and, with the advent of cloud, was becoming more important, not less. I also explained how the successful procurement and use of cloud services requires a range of technical knowledge covering security models, integration with internal or other cloud-based systems, understanding when to use private or public cloud, negotiating service level agreements, etc. My conclusion in that article was that cloud would actually reinforce the importance of the CIO rather than diminish or eliminate the role.

You can read the rest of this post on The CIO Leader, my site for business-focused technology leaders.

CIOs must focus on business not technology

My last article for The CIO Leader, CIOs should not be technical, prompted quite a lot of reaction across this site, LinkedIn and Twitter. The basic premise was that CIOs who were predominantly technical, or who at least were perceived to be technical were at a disadvantage to those that demonstrated a good understanding of the wider business. This was supported by a secondary point that CIOs that had spent part of their careers outside of IT were better placed to take on additional responsibilities or progress beyond the CIO role.

It’s worth noting that most of the feedback to my article was positive and in agreement with these points. In fact, the few negative comments about the piece were largely based on a misunderstanding of the central point; these people thought that I was saying that CIOs did not need to understand technology or that they should not have any technical background. This is not the case.

You can read the rest of this post on The CIO Leader, my site for business-focused technology leaders.

CIOs should not be technical

The days of the CIO being the most senior technologist in their organisation with time served working their way up through the IT department are numbered. In fact, having a technical background or at least one that is clearly evident in how you speak, behave or approach issues is likely to be a disadvantage in the future.

The way organisations are using technology has changed. Disruptive technologies such as cloud, social and mobile have made technology far more accessible to non-technical functions. The supposed challengers to the CIO role, be it the CMO, CDO or even the CFO, are demonstrating that you do not need to be technical to successfully apply technology to enable business capabilities.

You can read the rest of this post on The CIO Leader, my site for business-focused technology leaders.