CIOs rethink role, future of enterprise IT

Gartner lays out four 'futures' for the IT department

Chief information officers (CIOs) are rethinking the role of IT and their roles in the enterprise, observed market research firm Gartner.

Image source: Gartner

Gartner said CIOs will play a vital role in identifying the future of the IT department. They must ensure senior IT stakeholders are involved from the outset so their support is guaranteed. These CIOs will then be able to identify how their role will change and start planning a personal road map.

"We are witnessing the emergence of a new generation of CIOs, one that aims not so much to 'run' IT as to ensure that the business achieves strategic value from the use of technology. Although this isn't an entirely new development, the extent of the change is growing and a tipping point will be reached in the next five years," said John Mahoney, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

Mahoney identified four futures for IT in the enterprise, which he stressed are not mutually exclusive and can exist in combination.

Under the first scenario, the IT department functions as a service provider. IT is an expanded and integrated shared-service unit that runs like a business, delivering IT services and enterprise business processes. It is virtually or fully centralized, focuses on business areas and business value, adopts a marketing perspective, capitalizes on its internal position and delivers competitive services.

Under the second scenario, the IT department is an engine room. IT capabilities are delivered rapidly at market-competitive prices. The IT organization succeeds by monitoring technology and market developments, and building expertise in IT asset optimization, sourcing and vendor management and IT financial management. It delivers cost improvements, looks for new ways to deliver the same IT capabilities for less and is highly responsive to changing business needs.

For the third scenario, information is the enterprise's explicit product. The business is structured around information flow, not process or function. The IT organization innovates within the value chain, rather than just enabling the supporting services found in every business.

For the final scenario, business leaders and individual contributors use information and technology aggressively to break through traditional business perimeters and drive collaboration. While traditionalists may oppose this approach, others see liberated creativity. For this reason, this model works in nontraditional situations such as dynamic businesses, startups and other types of ventures. 

CIOs are facing increasing challenges in the enterprises. They are expected to not only handle the traditional IT infrastructure and services issues but also to be the innovation and risk manager for the enterprises.

For more:
- check out Gartner's release

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