Monthly Archives: March 2011

The CIO of the Future

Ray Wang from the Harvard Business Review posted a nice write-up about the essential characteristics of the future CIO. Today’s CIO typically functions as a Chief Infrastructure Officer whose main responsibilities include “keeping the lights on and managing legacy environments.”

With the advent of cloud computing, it’s clear that this central role will be eclipsed as infrastructure management responsibilities are outsourced. Many businesses will begin to reap myriad benefits by paying Amazon, Google, or Microsoft to power their servers. These benefits include cost savings through pay-per-use computing power, a more scalable infrastructure, increased fault tolerance, and of course less in-house maintenance, equipment, and power consumption. I believe that data privacy and legal concerns will be addressed in the coming years by more comprehensive “e-laws” that cover cloud computing and data ownership. In addition, it will take time for corporations to trust cloud computing providers with their sensitive information. This will come — ten years ago you would have thought posting your picture on the internet for all to see was crazy.

Back to the point: now that their infrastructure is taken care of, what will CIOs do with all their spare time? Glad you asked.

Wang describes the other roles as follows: Chief Integration Officer, Chief Intelligence Officer, and Chief Innovation Officer.

While all three are critical to future sucess, I believe that the Chief Intelligence Officer role will stand out as especially important. The area of business intelligence (BI) is ever-expanding. More and more, companies will leverage the vast amounts of data at their disposal to learn about customer consumption habits, emerging industry trends, and how to allocate personnel and other resources more efficiently. Mobile BI solutions such as Roambi, Cognos Go! Mobile, Salesforce Mobile, and Qlikview will only become more important as analysis is compiled and pushed out to field users.

With intuitive BI platforms both in-house and in the field, the CIO of the future will be able to better prepare his or her business for future challenges.