Will the CIO Role Disappear?

I was recently asked if I thought the CIO role would disappear from most companies. My response:

In companies where the CIO is the “top techie” who considers their primary responsibility to be keeping the little green lights in the data center blinking we will see the CIO role disappear. IT is not as mysterious as it once was, and there is no longer the need for a C-level title for pure technology management.

If the CIO can evolve, and help the CEO execute his or her strategic vision then it will continue to exist. Just as the CFO doesn’t just shuffle debits and credits, but rather figures out how to best pay for the CEO’s strategy, the CIO needs to figure out what tools and emerging technologies will facilitate the business objectives of the company.

I would guess that around 20% of CIOs do this very well. They’re also the CIOs that are slated to move into a COO and potentially CEO role. A good “litmus test” is if you ask the CEO if he or she would consider letting the CIO take their position. If they laugh you out of the room, then the CIO is likely more oriented towards the tech management role.


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