The New CV of the CIO

Five years ago, who would have thought that a CIO would need to know how to use Facebook and Twitter in the future? Well, that’s exactly what’s happening right now. Social media and cross-departmental collaboration is one area where CIOs need to improve their skills.

The IT world is abuzz, with cloud technology, mobile capabilities and social business. Just as the industry evolved over the years, the core skills of a CIO have evolved. And it will continue to evolve to address upcoming changes in the industry over the course of the year:

1. Rise of the social enterprise

Social media has not only revolutionised personal communication. In the past few years, social media has established itself to be a primary communication tool between businesses and their stakeholders.

IDC predicts that 2014 will see more enterprise applications incorporating social technology. They state, “In addition to being a strategic component in virtually all customer engagement and marketing strategies, data from social applications will feed the product / service development process”. Social listening will be a key component of IT. It is expected that 80% of Fortune 500 companies will have an active customer community by 2017.

2. Digitisation of industries

IDC expects one-third of share leaders in virtually all industries will be taken over by new, incumbent players, enabled by readily available web and cloud technology provisioned by Amazon or Google. They point out, “A key to competing in these disrupted and reinvented industries will be to create industry-focused innovation platforms that attract and enable large communities of innovators – dozens to hundreds will emerge in the next several years”.

Gartner confirms this, as with the expansion of the Internet beyond PCs and mobile devices to televisions, watches and even field equipment, digitization is inevitable. Due to this digitization, IDC predicts IT purchases will no longer be restricted to the IT department, and the IT buyer profile continues to shift to business executives. Ultimately, it is predicted that from 2014 to 2017, IT spending made outside of IT departments will grow at more than 6% a year.

3. Proliferation of hybrid cloud models

IDC predicts that in 2014, there will be a 25% increase in spending on cloud services and supporting technology, and it will exceed $100 billion. This spending is not only comprised of private or public clouds, but also hybrid cloud services.

This year, Gartner expects a rapid increase in demand for hybrid cloud. Gartner notes that it is imperative for organisations to bring together personal clouds and external private cloud services. They recommend that enterprises need to look to the future and hybrid cloud when designing their private cloud services to ensure seamless integration. To manage functionality, data and the overall composition of the hybrid cloud service, an enterprise needs to have a cloud service broker (CSB).

4. Big spending on big data analytics

IDC predicts that in 2014, there will be a rapid increase in spending on big data technologies – over $14 billion to be exact or 30% year-on-year growth. Along with increased big data spending, the demand for big data analytics skills continues to rise and will continue to outstrip supply, according to IDC.

This will drive a race to develop cloud-based platforms capable of streaming data in real-time, and as a result, an increase in the use of externally-sourced data and applications. Overall, IDC anticipates “explosive growth in big data analytics services”.

Implications on the CIO of 2014

Gone are the days when a CIO’s job revolved around solving day-to-day IT issues. From these trends it’s clear to see that IT plays a bigger and more collaborative role within an organisation. In 2014 the CIO’s resume now contains skills such as:

  • Social listening – Not only will CIOs need to understand social media, they will need to leverage it for social listening, to have a clearer understanding of what their target audiences and existing customers want. Eventually, they will need to incorporate social technology much deeper within the enterprise.
  • Communication skills – Good social engagement only comes from good communicators, and therefore communication will become a key skill for a CIO in 2014. Communication skills become especially important, given that IT purchases will increasingly be made outside of the IT department.
  • Cloud service management – With the rise of hybrid clouds, the CIO will be increasingly given the responsibility to manage applications, aggregation, integration and customisation of services, filling the role of a Cloud Service Broker (CSB). A CIO will therefore need to have better management skills to perform successfully in their role.
  • Collaboration skills – Traditionally, IT has worked in isolation from other departments. This will continue to change in 2014. With the increase in big data and the subsequent need for better analytics, CIOs will constantly need to work with data brokers or data analysts (internally or externally), and therefore will need to be better team players and collaborators.

The ad-hoc problem-fixer role IT plays is a thing of the past, and will be outsourced to companies that provide managed IT services. This year, the CIO will start to transform into a social business aficionado, a cross functional communicator, a team player and a Cloud Service Broker rolled into one.

To find out more, read our blog post A Transformation Journey - From IT Department to Service Provider here.

Tags big data, hybrid cloud, CIO Leadership, cloud service broker, cloud services, cloud technology, Communication skills, cloud service, Manager, social enterprise, Social media


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