The CIO position is changing in response to a turbulent, hypercompetitive business market, in which organizations increasingly turn to technology and business process innovation to gain competitive advantage.
According to a recent Meta Group study, leading CIOs are playing dramatically more influential business roles than they have at any time in the past. The study's findings reveal a new class of CIOs -- executives that recognize the new demands of the position and are committed to being enterprise change-agents.
''Savvy CIOs have demonstrated their transformational value to senior management during the past three years, even while operating during a down economy,'' said Graham Waller, senior vice president with Meta's Executive Directions advisory service.
''They have forged collaborative relationships with their business peers based on their ability to make hard decisions within the ITO and bring productivity insight into the business organization. In short, CIOs have ... become more business-savvy.''
The study, The CIO As Enterprise Change Agent, surveyed more than 100 senior IT executives in order to assess the evolving role of the CIO. And these findings underscore the new CIO business mandate.
Almost half (47 percent) of those surveyed indicated they have broadened their responsibilities beyond the traditional CIO-only role to absorb some form of business responsibility.
In fact, many of those now occupying the CIO position (35 percent) have come to the role of senior IT decision maker with a business background. However, whether from a business or IT background, the majority of CIOs agree that over the next two years, the most important aspect of their roles will be that of change-agent.
The study also noted that the most critical success factor for the CIO to operate effectively as a change-agent is collaborative executive leadership.
While it is important that CIOs exhibit leadership authenticity in the change-agent role, respondents stressed that transformation success will not be realized without commensurate leadership from key business executives.
In addition to serving as an effective catalyst for change, CIOs must also play a key role in seamlessly integrating the key components of business transformation: technology, processes, and people.