The New CIO: Chief “Information.. urm What” Officer?


The role of the CIO has never been more challenging than it is today, whether the CIO sits in telecom or manufacturing, aviation or banking, health or logistics. With the overwhelming amounts of big data, the advent of cloud, the digitization of enterprises and everyone buried in their devices and risks at an all time high in the age of social, who is the new CIO? Who needs to report to him?

Traditionally it was a tight circle of the CEO/CFO/CIO/CISO. But lately tradition seems to be flying out the door for enterprises that need to be forward thinking. Cloud, quality assurance, risk, the so many platforms as services and many many more words that the CIOs dictionary needs to have, the team reporting to him needs to include the following. Either that or the CIO just got himself four more jobs if he isn’t already doing the job of CISO.. We’re doing a round up of what roles the CIO needs to be looking at today for a sound future enterprise tomorrow. To start of, we’re discussing the Chief Data Officer.

  • Chief Data Officer 

The Chief Data Officer is one of the emerging executive roles gaining traction in some sectors, with research firm Gartner’s latest headline-grabbing prediction that 90% of large organizations will have a Chief Data Officer role by 2019. The role is emerging and not yet fully established – Gartner estimates the number of CDOs and Chief Analytics Officers doubled in 2015 to 1,000, up from 400 in 2014. There is no blueprint for starting a new Chief Data Officer role however, although the above-mentioned analyst and consultancy house has produced a roadmap for the first 100-day ‘honeymoon’ period designed to help new CDOs establish themselves and create perceptions about the new function. Beyond the advice of prepare, assess, plan, act, measure and communicate, the CDO’s main function is to sell data vision.

Chief Data Officer at The Economist, Stephane Pere, said that selling the use case for the role was crucial. “When I got the job there was no agenda, no goal or job description,” he said. “I was a sales guy selling banner ads and pages for years so now I’m selling the data vision. “I now think of data as a product, data as an enabler, then data as a service and maybe eventually data as a business. Don’t think data as a new revenue stream, but a way to reinforce your current business models.”

  • Chief IoT Officer

A recent study of 500 UK CEOs and senior decision makers entitled “IoT: Risk or Reward?” conducted by security company Webroot and data centre organisation IO suggested more than half of businesses surveyed (54%) plan to employ a Chief IoT Officer in the next year.  But is a Chief IoT officer really needed? And if so, what would they do, who would they report to and how would they fit into the existing organizational structure? There is a clearly a lot of confusion about how IoT will work in practice and as a consequence a lot of people on LinkedIn are jumping on the bandwagon and labelling themselves as an “IoT Evangelist”. The most challenging aspect of the Internet of Things is it touches on so many different areas of the business. This is precisely why so many organizations struggle to understand how it will work in practice and what a Chief IoT Officer may be required to do. The role would more likely default to a CIO report – and the IoT should not primarily be about IT, but about transforming the way an organisation carries out its business.

In this respect Manfred Kube, Head of M2M at security firm Gemalto points out it is “a far from an easy role. An introduction of a Chief IoT Officer is something I’m certain businesses should consider in order to fully embrace the potential IoT has to offer. It is vital for businesses to have one person dedicated to unlocking that potential and communicating its importance to the rest of the business from the regular staff right up to the CEO. Whether it’s coordinating software updates that keep each device working to its full potential, liaising with CIOs and CSOs to create a robust security framework, or co-ordinating with CFOs to unlock further budget and ensure that ROI on the devices is maximised, Chief IoT Officers will have a great deal of responsibility,” he says.

  • Chief Integration Officer

CIOs have a unique vantage point, able to lead integration from an enterprise-wide perspective. After all, technology touches every department and government function–as well as, arguably, every business and citizen. One key skill that truly great CIOs have learned is how to successfully navigate and integrate organizational differences to keep key stakeholders in agreement and heading in the same direction. In other words, they become chief integration officers. It’s a skill that can turn disorganized IT organizations into strategic weapons. When IT functions began decades ago, they were somewhat self-contained and isolated. Today, the reverse is true. Now everyone needs IT, including customers, partners, suppliers, internal corporate functions and field operations. Yet only the best CIOs have so far successfully led the charge for organizational integration. When CIOs let someone else lead this integration, it often spells disaster for them and their departments because it perpetuates the perception that business-IT alignment remains a problem.

  • Chief Digital Officer

Chief Digital Officers are considered both the new stars of the C-suite as well as faddish or transitory roles which will eventually go away – a view even held by a number of CDOs themselves. The role of the Chief Digital Officer and the CDO duties and responsibilities vary vastly depending on industry, reporting line, and to what extent they have been truly empowered to do the job they were brought in to do. It’s partly strategic and a vision, but the Chief Digital Officer role is also about execution. And the cultural aspect. How do you get the business from thinking about IT to thinking about tech? How can you get the business to think more digitally, and to embrace digital? More and more CIO’s have come to adapt themselves as Chief Digital Officers if they already don’t have one reporting to them or the CEO directly.

“The segregation of technology and digital is not helpful. There needs to be a single agenda and they need to be tightly integrated. The CDO concept, in my view, was a necessary transition state. There are a lot of new digital capabilities being brought in, mapping, customer journeys, UX and interfaces.”

Sarah Wilkinson, Home Office CTO


  • Chief A lot More Officers

Is this the end of new roles for the CIO? No. We are already and have been discussing roles from Chief Experience Officer, Chief Infrastructure Officer, Chief Intelligence Officer and Chief Innovation Officer apart from their regular roles as Chief Technology and Information Security Officers. As roles for the CIO get more complex and the line of reporting becomes deeper in the technology department, IT heads/CIO’s have tremendous work cut out for them to lead change and innovation in the enterprise. Whereas previously perhaps technology was only hardware or software led changes in the organization the role is now far more expansive and future CIO’s will have to remain adaptive to change as they become digital, innovation experts as well as data scientists and a whole lot more.

By: Salaina Haroon