The CIO as a metaphor for change

The CIO as a metaphor for change

The CIO role defies description - or is it simply just all encompassing?

The CIO role defies description — or is it simply just all encompassing? At the recent CIO Summit, speaker upon speaker pointed to how the role has morphed to cover whatever the metaphor for change management is at the moment — think innovation from a few years back, to transformation and now the more current term — disruption.

Indeed, there is no shortage of areas CIOs need to get a handle on, and which their executive peers and users expect them to have a grasp of.

The role is not even about understanding technology, says Ron Hooton, former Defence Force CIO and now CEO of ProCareHealth. “It is about understanding how to innovate in business using information and communications technologies.”

With the added perspective of his current role, Hooton says the CIO role now is “about being part-marketer, part-sales expert, part R&D, bit of supply chain” and an understanding of numbers. “The only thing not compulsory for a CIO is understanding what happens in the server room.”

Hooton’s colleague in the health sector and fellow speaker at the summit, Johan Vendrig, adds to this list: “orchestrator of business units and organisations in the value chain.”

Vendrig speaks from his personal experience as CIO of healthAlliance, the largest ICT using organisation in New Zealand. “Orchestrating governance and collaboration across these complex service delivery models is a critical component of CIO roles in many industries; healthcare in particular due to the high level of fragmentation of the sector,” he says.

Meanwhile, two CIO Summit keynote speakers — Tim Campos of Facebook and Paul Strong of VMware — highlighted another area CIOs need to immerse themselves in — interpreting organisational data to make better business decisions and even enable new and different business models.

In the upcoming months, push and pull demands from within and outside the business along with continuing shifts in technology platforms, will add yet more items to the catalogue of change CIOs have to manage.

As they continue to take on more and more roles critical to the organisation’s success and even survival, CIOs will find themselves in an enviable — but most challenging — seat at the executive table.

See related articles:

In sync with change: Part 1 of our special report on the CIO Summit 2012

The leadership imperative: Part 2 of our special report on the CIO Summit 2012

Divina Paredes (@divinap) is editor of CIO New Zealand.

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