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What will the CIO become in the year 2020?


Isn’t it amazing how far today’s CIO has come from the days when enterprise IT meant mainframes and when the client-server revolution was a big deal? Back then the CIO mainly was responsible for keeping the equipment humming and delivering IT operations on time and on budget.


Technology has profoundly transformed the world in recent years. In the last decade alone, mobility, cloud, social media and big data have changed the landscape of IT dramatically. One group affected perhaps the most by the ever-changing landscape is the CIO. The next few years hold the potential for even more change. 


Much has been written on Discover Performance and in the Enterprise CIO Forum about the changing role of the CIO.  Recently industry experts and HP bloggers weighed in on the topic.  Joel Dobbs outlined his views on what the CIO of the future will look like. Christian Verstraete examined the characteristics of leading CIOs versus laggards and Paul Muller reviewed how the role of the CIO is evolving from that of a “plumber” to a “producer.”



In researching the topic I believe there are two factors that will continue to impact the role of IT in the future.  As more applications move to the cloud, as mobility and BYOD further infiltrate business, the control and purchase of IT is moving toward lines of business and application owners and away from the IT department. At the same time, the IT department is transforming from a cost center that provides technology to a strategic department that provides essential technology services (whether in-house or brokered from elsewhere.)


3 kinds of IT leaders will emerge

To meet the demands of the future, I envision large companies will have at least three types of technology leaders:


  1. The functional CIO: These CIOs will oversee many of the keeping-the-lights-on duties traditionally associated with IT, such as keeping laptops humming and servers going. These functional duties are still very important and must be maintained for the business to keep running.
  2. The service-provider/broker CIO:  In this role the CIO will be a true partner with the business, responsible for improving IT, enhancing business operations and accelerating the business through technology. This CIO will broker out many IT services to cloud to free up resources and deliver critical services to the business in the most cost-effective manner.
  3. The Renaissance CIO: This technology leader is a co-creator of business strategy using deep business acumen coupled with tech understanding to transform the business. This type of CIO will spearhead a full-blown cultural change that moves the entire organization into thinking and using technology to innovate, increase profits and solve business problems.


chapter1.PNGWhat do you think the CIO of 2020 will be like?

Where do you think the IT department and the CIO role will be in the year 2020?  What are your views regarding the future of technology and the enterprise?


As IT goes through a sea change, we’re all wondering what the future will bring and what it will take for enterprises to prosper in 2020 and beyond. We wanted to create a place for everyone to discuss the changing landscape of IT. Enterprise 20/20 is an eBook collaboration where industry leaders, visionaries, academics and HP partners and customers are coming together to imagine, discuss and shape the future of the enterprise. We hope you’ll join us, read the articles and comments, and contribute your own thoughts.   


The new collaborative eBook is your opportunity to read, and join the discussion on the changing landscape of IT.  Enterprise 20/20 is a six-month collaborative effort, presented by HP and driven by industry leaders, visionaries, academics, partners and customers who imagine, discuss and shape the future of the enterprise.


Please join the Enterprise 20/20 community and invite others as well.




About the Author


Judy Redman has been writing about all areas of technology for more than 20 years.

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