A CIO wasn’t the same as a CIO in 2019 in the year 2000. While the traditional role of CIO meant that they were IT providers with a focus on development and operations, the new IT model envisages the CIO as a broker and service orchestrator with a focus on innovation. David Higginson, CIO at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, believes that up to this day there have been three CIO waves.”It was kind of a plumber-type person in the’ 80s and’ 90s who got the network working, got the servers running, got the emails going, and that was their job,” he explained during a 2018 Health IT Conference interview. “Next, in the 2000s, we got into having large budgets and being tasked by the organization’ Go make this happen.’ I think many CIOs today have done really well in this project management, system implementation-type field.” The current scene for CIOs is quite different from what it was 20 years ago and is now closely intertwined with the organization’s business dimension.”The CIO of today is no longer an engineering expert supplying hardware and software,” said John Halamka, a long-standing title holder at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. “The CIO communicates widely, convenes governance groups and promotes innovation.”
Moving beyond tech
In its CIO report Changing Role, PwC predicts IT assuming a broader and more strategic role within the business that does not deal exclusively with technology but also requires a significant change in the role IT plays in the organization. Although there is still a need for the job to remain focused on technology, CIOs are now challenged to use IT strategies and solutions to drive business innovation and transformation. According to Gartner’s 2018 CIO Agenda report, their responsibilities have expanded dramatically beyond IT for 84 percent of CIOs in top-performing digital businesses, with innovation and transformation being their primary responsibilities.
Digital’ is the mainstream here,” says Andy Rowsell-Jones, Gartner’s VP and analyst. “CIOs move from experimentation to scaling up their digital business initiatives.” The challenge for CIOs will be to expand their digital projects so that they can deliver larger-scale long-term economies. An essential skill in achieving this goal will be effective communication. “Culture is not labelled specifically,” Rowsell-Jones said. “You can’t change what you don’t make explicit. Start by clearly articulating why change is needed from a business perspective, then delve into what’s going to change specifically.”Gartner predicts that 100 percent of IT roles will require an intermediate level of business acumen in order to effectively implement the digital business strategy by 2020.
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