29 Mar The role of CIOs must change to thrive in the digital age.
In the last two decades the number of CIOs has increased dramatically, while recent focus has shifted most of corporate IT management from a wing of the company’s activities to a more centralized position. Therefore, the function of the IT manager is gradually shifting characterized by the technical business of data processing on the wide range of information and job knowledge management. This change in the task during the digital era serves to boost overall profits. This article sheds some light on the control of the conversion process – one of the primary challenges and tasks for a company and the modern day digital age CIO.
Though still a relative newcomer to the boardrooms and executive boards, the role of the IT manager has become the most difficult and most dynamic managerial responsibilities in the business world in many ways. During the 80s and 90s, companies were confronted with sometimes drastic job specifications which have been caused by changes in the markets and the business processes. In many industries, production and markets have been globalized, and the corporate structures had significant changes – for example via downsizing or mergers.
In response to these changes, many companies have invested heavily in business re-engineering. It is estimated that companies give at present, around $52 billion per year for major reorganization with about $40 billion going directly to information technology. As a direct result, the CIO is now often front and center in the boardroom helping facilitate short-term and long term organizational strategy.
Companies that are trying to keep pace with these developments need to understand the new challenges that face the modern day digital age CIO. The relatively narrowly defined field of CIO functions must be expanded, especially knowledge management which is now recognized and accepted by senior management as a key component of strategic planning. This change in function also requires modifications in hiring practices and new skill sets required to prosper in the digital age.
Currently, most CIOs are not sufficiently active in areas of corporate management and decision-making. However, going forward they are going to be an organizational force to be reckoned with when it comes to strategic planning.
The transformation of the CIO role is a major challenge for companies. The requirements and skill sets of the position must be redefined. However, this includes on the one hand the way how companies use their senior IT staff, on the other hand, the relationship with superiors, performance expectations and incentives. CIOs are more motivated by the new challenges of their jobs through financial incentives.
The qualifications of the CIO changing, while IT is becoming increasingly important for business planning. The ideal candidate has technological expertise as well as experience in the areas of finance, marketing and strategic business planning. There is currently, however, still disagreement about the best mix of these skills.
Many CIOs see themselves in a sort of transitional phase between two professions: They are caught between a past in which they were considered to be technically oriented computer specialists, and the demands of a rapidly developing future in which they increasingly on strategic planning are involved at the highest levels of the company. Today’s digital world is accelerating at the speed of light, therefore it is not surprising that the role of the CIO has increased significantly in value and scope, far beyond its intial technical nature. Developing the ideal strategic modern day digital age CIO is now the challenge for today’s organizations with the ambition to dominate their respective industries.