It’s time for CIOs to start jogging for life

  • E-Mail
By  Colin Edwards Published  October 31, 2006

IT vendors have been cajoling CIOs for several years to get with the flexibility programme like it's some keep-fit regimen akin to what doctors have been berating the over-indulgers of the region to do.

Be lean, be mean, but above all else, be flexible has been the message. And while it is a message that has not got through to the overweight judging by the increasing incidence of diabetes, CIOs have, in the main, understood the message and are gearing for change.

But if anyone thought that was it, think again. Just as exercising is a lifelong commitment that just gets harder as the years go by, so is the ability to change. If the past five years have seemed like a treadmill of change, the next five years are going to be more so.

It is Gartner that is raising the alarm bells again. One of the main messages from John Mahoney, chief of research for IT Management at Gartner, speaking at its recent ITxpo 2006 was that how organisations manage technology will change more in the next five years than it has in the past 15.

He sees every IT organisation being on a road to inevitable transition. This started in 2005, and will remain the organisation’s focal point for the next six years. A new organisation type is emerging, one that will see the role of IT move from a technology focus to an emphasis on business processes and relationships, he says.

The CIO is going to have a heavy load on his shoulders. By 2012, he adds, IT’s contribution will be cited in the top three success factors by at least half of top-performing businesses; IT barriers will be cited in the top three failure factors by at least half of lowest performers. He sees the larger global enterprises dividing IT into at least two organisations by 2012, one working on sourcing and delivery of infrastructure, another on architecture and change.

But perhaps the greatest change is around what CIOs have talked about for some time - the need for more commercial, and less technical skills in IT organisations.

Any CIO plotting a career path should undoubtedly be looking to augment their business skills. Gartner says that through 2011, IT organisations will suffer an imbalance: too few business-oriented and commercial skills, too many technology skills. People with business or business/technology hybrid experience will take at least 75% of strategic IT decisions, up from less than 40% in 2006.

Don't come crying when you end up just looking after the data centre. So, get back on that change treadmill and start jogging for your IT life.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code