Is the CIO An Endangered Species?

 Some roles in the C-Suite such as the CEO are rarely redefined. Not so for the CIO as a dynamic business environment redefines the CIO role from IT leader to business leader and innovator. Suddenly, the role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) in the corporate hierarchy is in question. Not whether a CIO is needed but instead what their proper roles are in a changing business environment. How will these changes effect the relation the CIO has with the rest of the C-Suite as well as their direct reports?

"The CIO can no longer be a CIO in the traditional sense," says Larry Bonfante, author of Lessons in IT Transformation: Technology Expert to Business Leader. Larry is also  the USTA (United States Tennis Association) CIO and president of CIO Bench Coach, a business consulting firm.  CIOs must transition from guardians of information to innovators who develop new approaches for using information to advance the business."

 While this may not seem like an earth shattering revelation, it is surprising how many CIOs we come across are still solely focused on the IT side of the equation and leave the business transformation process to someone else in the C-Suite. As we have seen before, this behavior does not lend itself to running an innovation organization.

So as a possible solution and consideration for the CIO here Five key takeaways from "Lessons in IT Transformation":

1. CIOs must evolve from technology experts to business leaders.

2. IT executives must improve their communication skills to become effective relationship managers.

3. Technology only matters when it helps drive tangible business value. CIOs need to focus technology investments on what truly matters for the organization.

4. CIOs must be capable of communicating their vision for the organization.

5. CIOs do not typically have the skillsets needed to manage change and lead people. CIOs must learn to inspire people and transform their organizations.

Senior management is raising the bar on CIO expectations, determined to appoint and promote information officers who play key roles in pursuing the organizational mission. CIOs are in position to enhance their importance, compensation and marketability by widening the scope of their influence and contributions to the enterprise.

 "There is always a fear factor when coming out of one's comfort zone," Bonfante adds. "I developed the CIO Career Accelerator Pathway program to help ease the transition. Once the CIO takes the leap, the rewards can be immeasurable."


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Bill has been a member of the technology and publishing industries for more than 25 years and brings extensive expertise to the roles of CEO, CIO, and Executive Editor. Most recently, Bill was COO and Co-Founder of and the parent company PSN Inc. Previously, Bill held the position of CTO of both Wiseads New Media and


  • Arun Gupta
    Arun Gupta Feb 05, 2013

    So what's new in the points above ? The real CIO has all the skills that are being put across as necessary. Having a title of the CIO does not necessarily indicate or imply that s/he is a CIO.

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