Contemporary CIO Roles and Challenges

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Bill Gerneglia

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Article by Jim Finnan

According to a recent WSJ article entitled "The View From the CIO's Office" the role of today's CIO has not just changed but rather their roles have gone through an expansion of responsibilities.

Three CIOs were interviewed about the challenges they face in their roles as corporate CIOs for three large companies.

Below are some of the more important key points from the interviews:

1. It's the need to be businesspeople with a background in technology rather than the other way around.

2. The ability to properly leverage the cloud.

3. CIOs must provide business automation and continually increase and automate more and automate things deeper into the business.

4. IT is embedded in the business. The challenge is that there is now a convergence of consumer technology in the enterprise. It is creating completely different dynamics.

5. CIOs have to provide solutions and information and enable the business across lots of different platforms that are changing at a very rapid pace. You've got security implications because of this. User expectations are higher than they were previously.

6. As a CIO we have adopted a practice of self-service, enabling folks to get at the information, get at the tools they need to use and do it themselves. People can write their own reports. They can pull their information down on whatever device they want. If they want to have an iPad, and pull information down, we've enabled that. We just need to make sure we can wipe the data clean in case of an emergency.

7. We have a strategy we describe as application-centric, device-agnostic. We believe devices will continue to evolve, and the competitive advantage will not be there. The competitive advantage will be in the application, which is what will differentiate us from our competitors. The applications will transcend the devices they run on.

8. One thing we're struggling with is a really good way to manage and search all the information. We're growing so much information, and the majority of it is unstructured. The ability to find all that information for the average employee is getting more and more difficult. We're investing in enterprise search capability.

9. CIOs must provide the ability to operate in real time, rather than analyzing what happened yesterday, last week, last month, last quarter—trying to see what is happening now as we speak, and the ability to intervene immediately if we need to make an adjustment. The ability to control, to track, to monitor what is happening in-store, whether displays [or] promotions in store, and the ability to then adjust on the fly.

10.CIOs must provide for the ability for people to video-connect anytime, anywhere, any place, because our companies  are a truly global operation.

11.CIOs must provide the ability to predict, do modeling and "what if" analysis. We're creating some automation to [analyze] what is happening, why it is happening, so that we can focus all of our energies on how to improve what we have to improve.

Cross-posted from CIO Zone

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