CIOs ‘heading toward extinction’

Regional IT chief labels CIOs a dying breed at ITP round table

Tags: Emirates Flight Catering CompanyRecessionRecruitmentUnited Arab Emirates
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CIOs ‘heading toward extinction’ CIOs: Presumably looking at a job site (Shutterstock)
By  Daniel Shane Published  February 22, 2012

The CIO's role in business is stuttering towards irrelevance, according to the IT boss of one large regional enterprise.

At a roundtable held jointly by Arabian Computer News and Network Middle East today, Arun Tewary, CIO and VP of information systems at Emirates Flight Catering, claimed that the CIO was the only function "where every morning when we get up, we have to define our role".

"CIOs as a species have fallen into a category which is moving towards extinction, so we need to be protected, like wildlife," he told delegates at ITP's ‘Future of the CIO' event, held over breakfast at Dubai's Jumeirah Beach Hotel.

Tewary blamed part of this shift on trends such as the consumerisation of the IT department. "The whole industry is moving towards consumerisation, and the moment that picks up, we will not be required," he lamented.

At one point, Tewary contrasted the responsibilities of the CIO - which attendees identified as a mix of process, management and technology - with those of other c-level executives in the enterprise. "The CFO does not need to keep justifying and defining his role every day - it's very defined and there's no argument and no dispute. CMO? The same, absolutely no problem," observed Tewary.

Tewary also disputed the assertion that a CIO's career objective should be to secure a seat on the board, arguing that even when they did, they may not necessarily have much of a say in the running the business. "There might be organisations where CIOs have got into the boardroom, but I would be interested to know what is the percentage of such organisations," he continued. "They might have a physical chair [in the boardroom], but does the CIO have a voice in the boardroom? I'm not very sure."

Other attendees at the round table included CIOs and IT directors from well-known regional organisations in sectors including finance, logistics, education and industry. Topics discussed included how the role of the CIO has changed in the wake of global recession and the impact of cloud computing.

2678 days ago
Arif Jameel

If an IT head is made the CIO, he/she will never be able to digest the Board's position. To be a true C level member, one has to have a vision and the guts to implement it as a mission. If you see the CIOs trying to help fix the network cable or the projector in a board meeting, then you know where they stand. Im bemused that this supposed CIO of a large Emirates organization is saying he is threatened by employees getting their own devices to work and that's making him irrelevant. What was he doing all these years, did he pre-empt this and put together a plan to embrace it, or was he busy trying to fix his network cables and servers? This mentality is self explanatory on why IT-Techies, can rarely command the 'C'-level respect that a CMO or CFO or COO deserves.

2678 days ago
Syam Pillai

In many organizations, the so called CIOs nether have enough business knowledge nor have the right expertise in technology. For both these areas, they depend on others - for business, they depend on others in the organization and for technology they depend on vendors with vested interest. No wonder if they feel that they don't have any roles to play!

2678 days ago

This is from a gentlemen who still remain sceptical on the benefits of cloud computing....perhaos the overall reflection is more autobiographical?

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