The next generation CIO?

By Art Schlussel posted 07-15-2010 03:44



I was fortunate to take some vacation around the 4th of July holiday. This afforded me time to catch-up on my reading. The June 15, 2010 issue of CIO magazine really got me thinking. Inside the pages were multiple articles discussing the future of the CIO. Here a few quotes from various articles:

  1. “The big evolution for CIOs will be the ways they take on responsibility for business processes in organizations. They need to become business engineers.”
  2. The IT function is responsible for the only corporate asset that spans the entire company: the technology infrastructure. So IT leaders should absolutely be in the vanguard of those driving better collaboration. They should be spreading the gospel that a more collaborative application is a more productive organization, and helping a company to know what it knows.”
  3. “…CEOs want IT leaders who are not only accountable for technology operations, but who also drive innovation, fuel growth, enables change and creates competitive advantage.”

These articles made me think that perhaps the CIO will morph into the CKO position. It has been something that we in the knowledge management community have been discussing for a long-time. Traditionally the CIO is responsible for the IT infrastructure and the CKO is responsible developing practices that encourage and enable knowledge capture, transfer, collaboration, and reuse.  Could we be close to a time when the CIO as we knew it becomes obsolete as more IT infrastructure is pushed to the “cloud” and the proliferation of IT service providers dominate the market with inexpensive and robust solutions? I think this could be happening.

In my organization the CIO is focused on creating value, reducing costs, and streamlining operations through the deployment of 21st century technologies that transforms how business gets done. The focus is not on developing huge data centers or building internal capacity, but on integrating technologies that support unified communications, collaboration, workflow, and other Web 2.0/3.0 applications. How these technologies are supplied is not important as long as they meet all the security, IA, and other necessary requirements. The CIO is focused on how best to run the business, not how best to run IT.

Over the next few years I think we can expect to see a merger between the CIO and the CKO. Perhaps in the end the CIO will be the Chief Integration Officer not the Chief Information Officer.