The Future of IT and the CIO – The New CIO Series

The New CIO is a weekly article about the challenges facing today’s CIO as well as what can be done to prepare for future challenges.

A few months ago, I aksed a question on LinkedIn about the role of the CIO (read the original question & responses):

Will the CIO role change in the next 5 years? If so, how…and why?

Quite a few folks responded with some excellent points. I’ve been ruminating on this question (and the answers) and finally realized that I may have asked the wrong question.   Why?  Because organizations want to be more nimble. Users want to be able to do more with the IT assets.  The ‘cloud’ is growing rapidly.

I think the better question to ask is:

How will IT’s role change in the next 5 years? Can current IT groups and CIO’s provide the value that organizations need?

Find the answer to how IT will change in the coming years and the CIO’s role will be clearer.

The Future of IT

I’m not an expert nor am I a ‘futurist’.  That said, I’m going to make a few wild guesses here on the future if IT.

The big IT group of today goes away.  No longer will we see large IT groups with tons of Developers, Project Managers, Network Security, Database Administrators, IT Operations, Desktop support, etc etc.  The IT group will splinter into much smaller groups more closely aligned with the organization.

Instead, I think we’ll see IT Groups split into multiple smaller groups.  There will still need to be desktop support and database administrators and all the other things that fall within IT operations.   That said, why wouldn’t IT operations move into other ‘operations’ areas.   Is IT operations really that much different than facilities management?  They both have to keep things running don’t they? Should IT to be split into an operational team and project team and have them report into different reporting structures.

Most of the real activity will happen around the business analysts and project management teams.   Will we see the CIO migrate into a Chief Project Officer and manage all aspects of business analysis, projects and technology strategy?  Will the IT operations team be managed just like any other part of an organizations facilities are?

Conjecture and Hyperbole

While the statements above are just wild conjecture during a bought of stream of consciousness writing, I think there are some good things to think about there.  Have you taken a second to think about the future of IT and the role of the CIO in your organization?

The New CIO will need to step back and revisit the IT group to see if the organization is delivering the value it should deliver to the organization. Should IT operations be your focus or should it be on analyzing the business requirements for new IT projects?  Should you continue to pour money into legacy systems or make a clean break and move to more agile systems?

Many of you may not agree with me…but that’s the whole point of this post.  Is the Future of IT and that of the CIO certain?  Do we know that we have a valuable place in the future of organizations in our current form?

The New CIO has to look five to ten years down the road to see where you and your IT staff will be.  If you can’t see a clear picture of yourself and your team helping the organization, perhaps you need to start working to defog that future.

Join me next week for another article in The New CIO series.

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