CIO of the Future: SFSU CIO Executive Development Program

Last week, I had the privilege of presenting to the San Francisco State Executive Development Program, which was aimed at aspiring CIO’s, along with current CIO’s who are looking to expand their knowledge.

My presentation was on the Future of the CIO.  I had great interaction and comments from the group, but what was most interesting was the many questions at the beginning about my “cloud first” strategy.  We spent 15 minutes just discussing the risks, challenges and overall value of the cloud.  Discussing the value and the great potential of outsourcing your non-core IT components to the cloud is a passion of mine, so I was surprised at the level of questions received.  Why go to the public cloud?  Aren’t you concerned about security?  More questions like these, which left me still believing there are a lot of companies and IT leaders out there who are still scared or uninformed about the value.

More on this later…

Below is a link to my presentation.

The Ongoing Talk About Titles

There have been numerous articles and conversations lately about what the “new” CIO title should be.  Most of the conversation is around the Chief Digital Officer, as digital has become the mantra for organizations.  Some of the other titles being bantered about these days are Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Infrastructure Officer, Chief Integration Office, Chief Data Officer, Chief Social Media Officer, Chief Risk Officer, Chief Cloud Officer, and so on….

The real question is, does it matter?  Does the title really change the role, or is the role driven by the company culture and the IT Head’s ability to engage, transform, and innovate?  Most of the titles listed are really persona’s, and not titles.  Many CIO’s actually play one or more of these roles at any time, shifting from an integration focus to a data focus to risk, while focusing on innovation throughout.

My view is that the talk go back to focusing on HOW the CIO can innovate and help drive increased revenue or raise customer satisfaction.  Even the Chief Digital Officer role implies that the CIO has a focus that is purely digital.  What about integrating cloud services, a key function that progressive CIO’s need to handle today as they move more of their applications and infrastructure into the cloud?  Does “Digital” describe this?  Not really.   Social Media is another example.  That’s another area of disruption that the CIO needs to understand as it affects the employee base and the way we collaborate.  A role focused solely on social media could be a subset within the Marketing department, but not likely a good description for a CIO.

These discussions are not new and they do highlight the transformation and changes affecting CIO’s today.  They are worthwhile as we highlight the roles, or persona’s, that we need to understand and take on.  Let’s just not let it get in the way of creating real business value.