Last week I presented to a customer in our Executive Briefing Center. I had expected to meet the CIO of this company, but instead, the leader of this contingent was the VP of Director Services and the IT director who reported to him. We begin each briefing with the “Voice of the Customer” where the customer tells us of their environment, their direction, and what they expect to get out of our briefing.
During this briefing, the director of services explained that they were about to do a conversion from Oracle to SAP, so their CIO, called in a consultant from a well-known technology research firm, to help them plan this conversion. During the course of the study, the consultant determined that the CIO’s position did not add any value. Within two weeks the CIO position was eliminated, and the CIO was let go. The VP of Director Services and the IT director now report to the VP of Finance. I was surprised at the recommendation by this analyst since his firm had recommended the CIO position in the early day.
I checked with the Hitachi account executive to see if he had heard of this happening in other accounts. He said that in the past year he knew of two other companies in his region where the CIO position was eliminated and IT is now reporting to finance. I don’t know if this is a trend but this is disturbing to me as this is the time for major transitions when the CIO position is more important than ever.
Many of us agree with this definition of the role of the Chief Information Officer, which is found in Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_information_officer
CIOs form a key part of any business that utilizes technology. In recent times, it has been identified that an understanding of just business or IT is deficient. CIOs are needed for the management of IT resources as well as the “planning of ICT including policy and practice development, planning, budgeting, resourcing and training”. In addition to this, CIOs are becoming increasingly important in calculating how to increase profits via the use of ICT frameworks, as well as the vital role of reducing expenditure and limiting damage by setting up controls and planning for possible disasters. . . . . In this way, CIOs are needed to decrease the gulf between roles carried out by both IT professionals and non-IT professionals in businesses in order to set up effective and working relationships.
I can understand if a particular CIO is let go if he does not fill the role of a CIO as defined above. If he focuses on IT as a cost center and his goal is to reduce infrastructure cost without increasing business value, than he should turn IT over to the finance department.
Next week I will be discussing the trends that I see for 2016 with Greg Knieriemen our HDS Technical evangelist and strategist and Adrian Deluca, our CTO for Asia Pacific. I will be getting their perspective on these trends and other trends that they are seeing. A big part of what I see for 2016 will depend on the role of the Chief Technology Officer.
Please set this date on your calendar, December 2, at 9:am Pacific Standard time for this webinar on IT Trends for 2016 and what we think of the importance of the CIO. https://www.hds.com/webtech/?commid=179961
Until then stay safe and treasure your family and friends as we enjoy Thanksgiving holidays in the US.