Beginning of the End for the CIO?

As cloud computing really starts to take hold, some features of the landscape are becoming clearer. At least they seem clearer to me.

First, the disruption happens disruptively:

  • Through consumers and smaller business customers, rather than through the biggest enterprises.
  • Through applications converting to SaaS delivery and non-critical, experimental, or bursty infrastructure rather than mission-critical infrastructure.
  • Through “consumerization of IT”, where demand for iPads and cool apps drives the need for new delivery models

Second, the disruption will move upward to larger organizations, first through private clouds, then hybrid clouds, and then full-dress clouds.  (Of course, larger organizations use SaaS applications and suffice iPads and cool apps today, so they need some kind of cloud solutions today.)

Third, however, is interesting: if IT moves out of the enterprise and into the cloud, why do you need an IT organization over time… and why do you need a CIO?

The CIO’s job is to make sure that the house IT plant supports the mission of the organization.  Already other functions are trying to make IT decisions without the CIO: implementing Salesforce, constructing mobile apps, buying kit for websites.  It stands to reason that the CIO’s job loses power over time.

CIOs have barely been able to pry themselves free from reporting to CFOs.  Will they report to CMOs next?

One thought on “Beginning of the End for the CIO?”

  1. I see a lot of ultimate IT responsibility (caveat: IT in the cloud) being sucked into the Risk Management function of the CFO’s office. The cloud vendors love to talk up the fact that they’re offering utilities to enterprises. They just might start having enterprises taking that claim seriously. I just don’t know how blonde database sales guys named Doug are going to keep their BMW convertible.

    As I recall back in the day (80s-90s), regardless of the marketing speak wrapped around it, many CIOs in non-tech industry companies spent most of their time and budget procuring, managing and upgrading software licenses and hardware as business assets. Sure, there was development thrown in. But if you took a typical week, you could bet that M-W was about the optimizing the cost of seats and offices as related to data exchange/PBX, managing servers and data centers with productivity suites, email, and security at the desktop level. Thursday went to new applications either bought or developed and Friday through Sunday lunch was about how to integrate the whole damn mess without blowing up the company. 🙂

    Regarding whether CIOs will report to CMOs, the latter are in even worse odor given the shift to social, local and mobile happening on their watch. The irony of course is that it makes a lot of practical sense for IT to report to marketing if you remember Drucker’s old saw that biz makes money only through product/service innovation and marketing—everything else is a cost. But the talent and politics haven’t yet caught up with that reality.

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