CIO Position in Flux as Companies Embrace Tech


Chief data officers say their function is evolving, as cloud computing and different improvements make it simpler for enterprise leaders to deploy know-how past the management of the IT division.

“Of all of the roles  that we cowl, the function of CIO is in essentially the most flux now,” mentioned

Chris Howard,

chief of analysis at enterprise marketing consultant

Gartner Inc.

Whereas enterprise know-how’s influence on the survival of the enterprise has accelerated, the query is who’s answerable for that, Mr. Howard mentioned. “Generally it’s the CIO, generally not.”

In response, many CIOs are leaving software program and different enterprise know-how choices to finance, advertising, gross sales and different departments, and turning their consideration to core enterprise methods.

The transfer to let enterprise models run their very own IT store—a shift tech leaders have resisted for years, citing integration and safety points—comes as cloud computing, knowledge analytics, automation and different capabilities turn into essential features at corporations in all sectors, mentioned Kim Bozzella, managing director and chief of the worldwide know-how consulting apply at management-consulting agency Protiviti Inc.

Although most CIOs proceed to supervise knowledge governance, compliance and different higher-level IT features, in the case of day-to-day enterprise apps they’re extra more likely to be seen as advisers.

In a survey final yr of 985 IT leaders and 250 line-of-business employees, by market analysis agency Worldwide Knowledge Group, practically 60% of employees exterior of IT described their firm’s CIO as a “strategic advisor who proactively identifies enterprise alternatives and makes suggestions.” Eighty-six p.c mentioned teams or features exterior of IT now have their very own know-how budgets. IDG mentioned.

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“The push to remodel has pressured that corporations that silo know-how to their IT departments will probably be shortly outrun by opponents,” mentioned Jeff Wong, international chief innovation officer at Ernst & Younger LLP.

Irving Tyler, distinguished analysis vp at Gartner, mentioned the proliferation of digital know-how means CIOs can not be the owner-operator of each system within the enterprise anymore.” Expertise leaders who cling to an older mind-set are “going to wrestle,” he mentioned.

John Hill,

chief digital and data officer at Carhartt Inc., mentioned most of the obligations he used to have over enterprise know-how are flattening out throughout the corporate. His focus now’s on guaranteeing that methods are built-in, safe and aligned with the corporate’s long-term enterprise technique, he mentioned: “I do assume the function has modified.”

John Hill, CIO at attire maker Carhartt


Carhartt Inc.

Final week, the 133-year-old U.S. attire maker launched an initiative to create devoted tech groups in each division, beginning with its wholesale, direct-to-consumer and customer-care models.  Mr. Hill mentioned the groups—which he calls “squads”—include each know-how and enterprise specialists. Although below his watch, he mentioned, “the prioritization of what’s being accomplished is within the squad.”

At many corporations, enterprise segments aren’t ready for IT to bulk up on tech expertise. In accordance with Gartner, a median of 41% of as we speak’s whole international company workforce is made up of what it calls “enterprise technologists”—staff employed into departments exterior of IT to construct tech instruments and different digital capabilities. The typical proportion of those staff inside organizations varies by business, from 28% within the public sector, to a excessive of 55% within the vitality sector, Gartner mentioned.

Many tech suppliers have began pitching cloud-based and low-code software program instruments, designed to be ready-made or simply custom-made, on to enterprise segments, bypassing conventional IT gatekeepers—a pattern that accelerated in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, analysts mentioned.

“The sheer quantity of know-how choices in as we speak’s ecosystem necessitates new resolution processes,” mentioned Penelope Prett, chief data officer at IT consulting agency



She mentioned Accenture not too long ago created a brand new governance mannequin that features executives from each space of enterprise, aiming to make division leaders extra carefully concerned in essential know-how choices.

David Vidoni, vp of IT at software program firm

Pegasystems Inc.,

mentioned tech departments are partaking at a a lot deeper stage with enterprise models, in contrast with only a few years in the past. Whereas there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all strategy, he mentioned, business-line departments ought to prioritize their distinctive aims, leaving IT to supply a framework to assist them make know-how choices that assist obtain these aims.

“Our enterprise is taking a look at me to assist with the conclusion of their strategic targets,” mentioned Anil Bhatt, international CIO at medical health insurance firm

Anthem Inc.

He mentioned the job of the IT division as we speak is to set and drive the corporate’s general enterprise-tech technique.

Inside that framework, which incorporates measures to handle safety, stability and resiliency, amongst different points, business-unit tech leaders can then create and keep their very own IT highway maps, Mr. Bhatt mentioned.

Sam Deshpande,

CIO at health-insurance supplier

Humana Inc.,

mentioned having devoted know-how groups in every of the corporate’s enterprise segments provides IT leaders a novel place to view the whole enterprise-technology ecosystem. As such, he mentioned, each section’s distinctive resolution on tech investing will get built-in with the corporate’s broader enterprise technique.

“I’m impressed with how the Humana enterprise leaders have leaned in to know up to date know-how capabilities,” Mr. Deshpande mentioned.

Large tech corporations are investing in knowledge facilities as they compete for the $214 billion cloud computing market. WSJ explains what cloud computing is, why large tech is betting large on future contracts.

Write to Angus Loten at [email protected]

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