The CIO (R)evolution

There’s been a rapid upheaval in corporate America, with some job titles disappearing entirely and new ones rising to the top of organizational charts. In my opinion, the job description of a Chief Information Officer has potentially changed the most. In fact, a number of people argue that the position is obsolete, particularly with the advent of BYOD and personal applications, platforms like and the use of offsite servers.

Not true. Maybe it once was a supportive role, such as the head of back-end IT operations, but today’s CIO is not only the master puppeteer of an organization’s entire IT infrastructure, he or she plays a key strategic role in facilitating the enterprise’s digital transformation.

Last year, Gartner surveyed 388 CEOs and discovered that 47 percent of them are being challenged by their boards of directors to make significant progress in their companies’ digital transformations. By default, this means that a company’s need for a CIO is still very pressing. In fact, CIOs are now visibly moving from tactical implementers to strategic decision makers.

This has also brought about an interesting focus shift. CIOs are no longer just looking at efficiencies and adding cost savings to the bottom line; today’s CIOs are tasked with designing solutions that contribute to revenue growth. As a result, CIOs are required to have broader skill sets and to be constantly on the lookout for new technologies that can deliver a competitive edge.

Here are four observations on the changing role of the CIO:

  • CIOs no longer have deep knowledge of every aspect of IT, so they need to be able to ask technical experts the right questions to get a good grasp of the marketplace.
  • As they shift from the role of IT manager to IT leader, CIOs require a talent for communicating with a broad spectrum of people, from vendors and warehouse workers, to software developers and the CEO/CFO.
  • No longer solo practitioners, CIOs need the wisdom to hire good people and to trust them to do their jobs.
  • Perhaps most importantly, CIOs must be visionaries.

As an example, the changing cybersecurity needs of the enterprise require CIOs to be constantly up-to-date on new threats and security-related solutions in order to implement more advanced frameworks. This is easier said than done, given their broad responsibilities and the ever-changing landscape.

A good place to start is conducting a thorough cybersecurity risk assessment. A risk assessment can provide objective visibility into how your organization is running today, and help to identify any gaps. Another consideration is whether your company needs to augment in-house staff with outsourced expertise, such as a Virtual CISO or other high-level security personnel.

Having the time and resources to find top-notch outsourced personnel or to navigate the multitude of security offerings can be problematic. An easy solution is to develop a close relationship with a trusted consultant or advisor. By asking the right technical questions of experts, CIOs are in a better position to determine the best avenues for successfully selecting and deploying required security measures, on time and on budget.  An advisor can also help the CIO articulate a vision for cybersecurity best practices that apply to the entire organization, or any subset of the company.

If you’re ready to find that trusted source for helping to identify the building blocks to complete your company’s digital transformation and/or plug its security gaps, start by giving us a call. We’ve got answers for your questions.

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