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.


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