What’s The New Cloud-Friendly CIO Like?

What’s The New Cloud-Friendly CIO Like?

The Chief Information Officer (CIO) has always occupied a position secondary to the other C-suite executives like the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). However, that is changing with the advent of cloud computing. So, what’s this new cloud-friendly CIO like?

NOTE: I had written about some of these desirable traits earlier, though I had referenced the CTO or Chief Technology Officer instead of the CIO. Considering that these positions are quite similar, it may be worth a look. (See: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective CTOs ).

According to a survey commissioned by CA Technologies and conducted by market research firm Vanson Bourne, cloud computing has shaken up the traditional role of the CIO. 615 CIOs in organizations with 500 or more employees in the telecoms, retail, financial and manufacturing sectors in the Asia-Pacific region responded to the survey, whose report titled “The Future Role of the CIO 2011” was released in Singapore.

The report says that many CIOs have mentioned getting more time for innovation because of the time saved by going on the cloud. Moreover, going on the cloud has contributed to CIOs learning new skills such as regulatory and compliance, understanding risk, negotiation, sales and commercial procurement. All this has contributed to raising the profile of the CIO among the C-suite executives, a view expressed by 60% of the respondents in Singapore.

Pierre-Francois Vilquin, CTO of CA Technologies Asia South, commented that the modern CIO is no longer the “geeky guy doing back-end duties” but a business-savvy change agent who contributes to strategies on business expansion and competitive advantage. In that role, the CIO also has to convince the Board of Directors about the advantages of going on the cloud and assuage fears.

We already know that cloud computing is ‘revolutionary’ in terms of what it can do for businesses, but it is also breeding a new type of technology leader – one who clearly understands what adopting cloud computing can do for the organization and believes that cloud can empower them to become a more complete technology leader of tomorrow,” Victor Cheng, vice president of CA Technologies Asia South, said in a statement.

Later on, Cheng pointed out that increasingly CIOs are being tapped for CEO positions. In his opinion this was due to the ideal amalgamation of IT and business skills that a CIO brings to the table, possibly making him a better candidate than the CFO or the COO.

In conclusion, it seems that the new CIO is gradually moving away from a mere support role to one who can add strategic value to the company – improving performance, fostering innovation and reducing costs. With the spread of cloud computing, the voice of the CIO will only get stronger in running companies.

By Sourya Biswas

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