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Can CIOs be Replaced?

By SiliconIndia   |   Thursday, August 23, 2012
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Bangalore: The IT sector is being flooded with predicaments that a CFO or a CMO might eventually overshadow the role of the CIO, gulping the position of the latter. But what’s being deliberately missed is that CIOs are actually molded to tackle and overcome business complexities, reports Art Langer of WSJ.

With disruptive technologies on the fore, one can safely assume that a sound structured IT organization will be vital for the success of the business and that it will be imperative for CIOs to oil their network with C-suit peers on a regular basis.

Nevertheless, it is outrageous to imagine a non-technical executive can propel the ship of IT to safety amidst the storm of neoteric technologies. To support this perspective, we can analyze the case of organizations during early 90s where the leash of the IT sector was placed at the hands of CMOs with the advent of the dot-com fever and sadly met with misfortune. Likewise, even the CFOs do not possess the requisite skills to supervise the functioning of the IT sector.

Let’s face it – both the CMO and the CFO are considered to be drivers and supporters of revenue rather than technology. That job should exclusively be confined to CIOs and CIOs alone as they are the only ones equipped with undertaking strategic and value-creating technical decisions for a business.

As such, what is the need of the hour are CIOs who can not only initiate technological functions but also drive and support the same within an organization. Just shifting the chain of command of the IT department to a CMO or a CFO will definitely spell doom for an organization.

In order to prevent such blunder from occurring, what is suggested are thus-

•    Educate board executives- It is prerequisite to bring on the table of CEOs and other board officials, the underlying value of CIOs and educate them on the discreet advantages gained by sticking to a CIO.
•    Legalize the position of the CIO- Just like the American Institute of CPAs safeguard the interest of the CFOs, a similar concept can be analyzed to legalize the profession of CIOs, licensing them based on some pre-ordained criterion.

Thus, a new breed of CIOs is required who not only can drive innovation but also foster technological changes, prohibiting the CMOs or CFOs from undertaking the arduous task of managing the IT sector which the contemporary CIOs seem to be so skillfully performing.


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