New-Gen IT Requiring CIOs to Think More Like CFOs

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 02-11-2014 Print Email

A key takeaway of the WSJ CIO Network Summit: CIOs need to start thinking more like CFOs or they will slowly forfeit their power to other C-level colleagues.

WSJ CIO Network summit

"It's really incumbent upon CIOs to step it up a notch," Gelsinger told the audience of fellow and former CIOs at the summit. "They really have to. IT systems are morphing into new entities that involve CMOs, in addition to CIOs and CTOs. The democratization of IT, thanks to the cloud and mobile devices, is requiring new skills from CIOs if they intend to be successful."

Constellation Research President Ray Wang told CIO Insight that "as technology democratizes across the organization, the key new question for CIOs is this: How will your organization prepare for a world where consumer technologies may be more powerful than those in the enterprise? Another key question, according to Wang, is How will you harness the innovation without suffering from an external disruptive force?

CIOs are facing big changes in how they must manage core capabilities, and these are being driven primarily by cloud and packaged cloud apps, Coca-Cola CIO Rob Cain said.

"We are faced now with fundamental decisions that feel more like buying services than the traditional orientation of building capabilities," said Cain. "This also poses a huge talent and skills challenge—away from build and run, toward internal consulting and complex vendor management."

Looking Ahead, With Optimism

Key issues for 2014 and beyond that CIOs talked about at the summit include:

—While IT budgets are slowly moving higher, investment in new services is also rising. IT budget growth levels are also returning to pre-recession levels, with 43 percent of CIOs operating with bigger budgets in 2013. Analysts have projected that half of CIOs will have larger budgets in 2014, and a spot poll at the WSJ event was right in line, reporting that 51 percent of attendees believe 2014 will be better budget-wise at their organization than 2013.

—The war for recruiting IT development and administrative talent is getting even more nasty. Despite the move toward 21st century talent, the classic technology skills of business analysis, enterprise and technical architecture, and project management remain the most in-demand overall.

—Demand continues for mobile development skills: About 40 percent of CIOs are now seeking mobile solutions talent, which represents an 11 percent increase in demand over the last two years.

—Security concerns remain high on the list. Only twenty-six percent of CIOs believe they are well positioned to deal with current or near-future security issues, down from 29 percent in 2012 and 37 percent in 2011.

—Employees' usage of social networks and the general consumerization of IT are seen as problematic for security reasons. CIOs remain wary of shadow IT and BYOD trends, believing that the advantages they bring are outweighed by the disadvantages. Nonetheless, with new-gen software coming to the fore, such as Cloud Cruiser and others, in this area, CIOs are increasingly looking for new management solutions.

—Big data is officially a big deal. Half of all CIOs are encouraging big data development, and about the same number expect to invest more in big data-related solutions in 2014.

Photo credit: WSJ Editor Jerry Baker (left) interviewing Google Director of Engineering Ray Kurzweil at the summit.

About the Author

Chris Preimesberger is editor of features and analysis at eWEEK. You can follow him on Twitter via @editingwhiz



 

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