The role of CIO going away?

Short answer?  Nope.

Long answer?  Read on :)

Vince Kellen does a great job arguing the point in a post titled “Echolalia: The CIO is Dead! Long Live the CIO!” on The Cutter Blog. Jump over and read it.

Shameless Plug – Kellen was the Editor of the January 2010 Edition of the Cutter IT Journal and was helpful in getting “The Future Proof CIO” article that Gene De Libero and I co-authored.

In Kellen’s post, he writes about the ever present argument that the CIO’s role will go away.   The best argument for the role to always be around?  This line from Kellen’s post:

The CIO role has been and will continue to be focused on the information integration of the firm, especially as newer and more difficult forms of information grow.

I was struck by how straightforward and simple that statement was.

Many of the CIO’s that I’ve worked with have seen their focus being ‘delivering technology to meet strategic objectives’.  Not a bad focus actually…but Kellen’s definition of the CIO role is actually much stronger and much more important.

As CIO, if you focus on ‘delivering technology’, you’ll always be the ‘IT group’.  You’ll always be focused on the technology rather than the problem. And…you may

Why not step back and start focusing on the problem in business today?  That problem is a simple one:

How can an organization deliver their service or product in a way that is smarter, more effective and more useful to clients?

Answering that question should be the focus of every member of senior leadership.  The CIO’s role should be to deliver the necessary information to address this most important problem.  By focusing on the problem, the CIO can move out of the ‘CIO as Tech Guru’ to ‘CIO as Strategist’.

What will happen if we continue to focus on the technology? I think we’ll continue to see people discussing whether the role of the CIO is important enough for organizations.  Start focusing on the business problems and focus on the Real Business of IT and that discussion will end rather quickly.