In this blog post, I want to elaborate on the article ‘The future of the CIO in a Digital Economy’. (Weill & Woerner, 2013)
The two research scientists from MIT conducted a study that is based on several years and several methods of research. They looked into how CIO’s spend their time, and not any less important, how their managers actually wanted them to spend their time. From this study, they found four main CIO types.
The first one is the IT services CIO, the focus of this CIO is to provide the firm with all the IT services that the firm needs to operate in a digital economy. The external customers CIO, the second type of CIO, works with external customers or partners to sell and provide them with IT enabled products and services. The third type is the embedded CIO, this CIO is more focussed on the management of the company and is thinking about the strategy of the company together with other managers. The fourth type is the enterprise process CIO, this CIO manages and oversees key operational processes, including IT processes.
It depends on the company’s goals what is a more effective type of CIO. For example, when you focus on return on capital you should be an embedded CIO. However, focussing on innovation requires an external customer CIO, and profitability measures an enterprise process CIO. Firms with a mixed performance focus likely have IT services CIO’s.
The other managers want their CIO’s to be an IT service focussed CIO at first and then become an embedded CIO, working with non-IT colleagues as well. Once this is the case, they want the CIO to focus more on external customers.
The CIO’s themselves consider themselves mostly as an IT service CIO that wants to develop into one of the other types. In order to do so, CIO’s can do three things to save time that they can spend on other activities; mentoring, governance and partnering. The goal is to allocate time wisely, develop leadership strategies to save time and look at the future and anticipate on what type of CIO is needed.
I can conclude that CIO’s are much more than only managers of IT services. The want to do a lot more and other managers require them to add a broader business value to be able to keep up with the digital economy.