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Top CIOs predict the five-year future of the CIO

Five years from now, the CIO will be a better, faster, stronger version of today's top IT leader, practically running the company single-handedly. Or maybe other business executives will become more educated about IT and decide to hire cloud companies to do it all, leaving the poor CIO to wither, enforcing service-level agreements for a living. For almost as long as there have been CIOs, we've heard breathless speculation about whether the position will last, and if so, in what form.

Such nonsense ends now. Technology touches some part of nearly every product or service pulsing through the economy, weaving the industrialized and developing worlds together as never before. Without IT, business dies. CIOs are not going away. But what will the job become?

To sort through the many technological, economic, societal and political factors shaping the CIO role, we called on this year's CIO Hall of Fame inductees, IT leaders who were judged by their peers to have profoundly influenced the business landscape. We also canvassed the honorees of our annual Ones to Watch program, which selects rising stars who are likely to become the next generation of CIOs and business leaders.

Their predictions are smart and may surprise you.

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