Fusion 2015: The CIO’s life is about to get interesting

Fusion 2015: The CIO’s life is about to get interesting

Amid the increasing chaos of technology-enabled business disruption, stability has become a quaint notion, and the ability to adapt quickly has become the key to organizational success.

Nowhere is that more true than in the role of the chief information officer because the relentless advance of computing technology is rapidly transforming the CIO’s role from that of high-tech accountant to that of a technical knowledge manager and streaming data analyst.

Technology managers and their business organizations who are oblivious to this are about to have a rude awakening, according to John Byrnes, executive chairman of the board and president of Mason Wells, who delivered a blunt message during the 2015 Fusion CEO-CIO Symposium produced by WTN Media.

In a presentation on the future of business amid technological disruption, Byrnes outlined a framework for interpreting the forces that are driving markets in various industries. Specifically, he cited the forces of mobility, the viral adoption of social media, and the rise of virtualization and cloud-based business models that are profoundly impacting how organizations conduct their business.

With the transition to digital business models, the business case CIOs make before the board will have a much different rationale. “In the old world, the business case for investment in computer technology was primarily financial and cost driven,” Byrnes explained. “In the coming years, the business case will be revenue-driven, with special focus on the customer experience, new product development, statistical process control, and outcomes management.”

That means the CIO of the future will need a different cast of characters reporting to him, as well as a performance model based on technical achievements and non-financial metrics. In this new world, Byrne contends the job of a CIO will involve a blend of horizontal and vertical market technology, and industry-specific technical skills will be required in the areas of mathematics, statistics, engineering, and scientific analysis.

“Enterprise software will be less and less universal across all industries and more and more specific to the applications space of the subject industry,” he said. “Although the middleware for many of the applications will be shared across industries, the user interface, data sets, and process pinch points will be quite different.”

Most consumers have their own computing device, and they download and use their own applications. As more people and devices are connected to the Internet, business organizations have an opportunity to leverage this to increase collaboration and engagement between its workforce and customers. As a result, organizations will have to integrate increasingly diverse and sophisticated devices and new applications into corporate information technology.