At the start of every New Year, we all have an opportunity to step back and start again, with a fresh perspective on our responsibilities and goals. CIOs are no different. And this year, when CIOs do so, the white paper on IT priorities (from IDG research) entitled Clouds, business issues and time management dominate the CIO’s world in 2013 will be an interesting read.
To round out their research, IDG interviewed me along with other IT and business leaders for additional perspectives on CIO priorities in the coming year. Aside from me, IDG interviewed:
- Judy Nagy, CIO of a major lighting supplier based in the Midwestern U.S.
- Dennis Drogseth, a Vice President of Enterprise Management Associates Inc., a Boulder, Colorado-based analyst firm, and
- Nicole Laurence, CIO of SBM Corporation a facility management services provider based in McClellan, California.
The whitepaper highlighted four key insights. I’ve included them here, as well as my thoughts on the same:
1. Cloud computing is breeding a new generation of customer-focused CIOs. This is best reflected in Forbes blogger Joe McKendrick’s post on Cloud Computing, which raises the question: What does a 100% Cloud really mean? Focusing on the customer needs is fundamental to transforming to the Cloud the right way. However, more than the Cloud, the explosion of social networking channels and the direct, open access to the customer mind-set behooves enterprises to ensure that their business is at least as social as its customers.
2. IT leaders increasingly share budget control with their business counterparts. The CIO needs to have a strong partnership with the CFO in their journey to Cloud Computing. In fact, the CFO’s roadmap may very well drive the CIO's roadmap. Such a partnership will set better context for budget discussions with business counterparts.
3. CIOs are shifting their attention from technical matters to business issues. Shareholders are driving CIO's IT strategy—even more so in financial institutions. Cloud Computing has impacted the job description of the CIO to the point where they have to become a cooperative IT citizen of the enterprise to combat its consumerization. CIOs are also challenged to answer the ROI question when converging to the Cloud—something that needs to be done on a sustained basis.
4. IT executives continue to have insufficient time for innovation. CIOs need to selectively balance Cloud Computing and outsourcing so that they can focus on innovation that makes a difference.
As the IDG White Paper observes, you may not perceive significant changes in the CIO role when you review the responses to the survey conducted on priorities. However, the undercurrent of a seismic shift in CIO responsibilities is clearly emerging in an environment of partnership that requires the CIO to be a cooperative IT citizen combating the consumerization of IT.
So, as we face the year ahead, I ask you two simple questions: What are the 2013 CIO priorities for your enterprise, and do you see a significant shift in the role of the CIO? I’m intrigued to hear your answers!