Monday, September 29, 2014

The changing role of the CIO

The role of the chief information officer has changed dramatically over the years. I've discussed this several times, including one article about the CIO of the future. Citing Jerry DeSanto, vice president for planning and CIO at the University of Scranton (PA), chief information officers in the 1990s described their role as Building,Spending, Technical, Physical, Obscure, Functional, User-centric, Operational, Manager. But the CIO of the future must instead embody collaborative qualities: Sharing, Optimizing, Well-rounded, Virtual, Visible, Value-added, Customer-centric, Strategic, Leader.

Along similar lines, a multi-part article series starting with the March issue of Campus Technology describes The New CIO. Interviewing five CIOs in higher education, the article discusses the changing role of the CIO to Strategist, Change Leader, Digital Guide.

A few quotes that capture the changing role of the CIO:
"Patterson: There is definitely a shift in the role of the CIO from someone who manages technology to someone who manages change."

"Patterson: Now we are moving to the next paradigm of technology driving change, which is cloud and consumer-driven. As far as the CIO choosing the technology you use — that role is gone. That is why I see the CIO as the person at the table who leads the organization in strategic change."

"Crain: The focus of a CIO in higher education is certainly changing. For years we have focused on the "T" (technology) in IT and only recently have we really begun to really focus on the "I" (information). I believe that this trend toward the "I" will continue with the explosion of big data and the Internet of Things."

"Young: Collaboration is so important; there isn't one particular person or role. CIOs need to be close to the other leaders in the organization."

"Maas: At UW-Madison, we have consciously separated the role of operations leader for IT from the CIO, to allow the CIO to work more strategically on mission-critical services. A chief operating officer is responsible for IT operations and reports directly to the CIO. It takes time, effort, organizational development and extensive relationship building to shift the focus of IT services to align with emerging needs of the university."

"Maas: I see mentoring as a key role of the CIO. We have highly talented individuals throughout our university and often all they need is some encouragement and support to take the next step."

"DeWitt: The CIO has finally moved significantly away from a focus on plumbing and toward a focus on information, which of course is the essence of the CIO title."

"DeWitt: To be successful, the CIO has to build communication channels to all constituents, both formally through governance structures and informally by being open and responsive."

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