I have been participating in an interesting discussion about whether the CIO role has become a commodity, triggered by several large companies stripping the “C” from the title of the top IT person in the organization. My feeling is that the commoditization discussion need not be a binary one. Some aspects of IT are currently commoditized, and others are moving in that direction. If a CIO spends his or her time managing commodities at a low cost, then he too is a commodity and the role no longer need carry a C-level title.
If the CIO acts in a capacity where he or she takes the strategy of the corporation and helps facilitate it through IT, then that role is worthy of a C-level title.
Every function has utility aspects that should be put on “autopilot” at the right balance of cost and quality. I find it odd that we have such deep discussions about this in IT and act like we’re the only corporate function that deals with outsourcing decisions.