Smart machines will perform specific tasks, and CIOs will have to balance humans and machines within the workforce
Digital business will propel the CIO role in most enterprises from head of IT into the second most important business strategist and operational leader after the CEO, predicts Gartner.
The CIO role will combine responsibilities that are currently in the remit of other C-executives, including the chief technology officer, chief digital officer, chief strategist and business developer, chief innovation officer, chief risk officer and chief data officer, according to the Gartner report CIO Futures: CIO Executive Relationships in 2030.
“The CIO of 2030 will oversee a large proportion of the enterprise's intellectual capital, which will comprise legions of algorithms, robots and smart machines, as well as digital talent employed in IT, operational technology, R&D and innovation centres,” write the report authors, analysts Ansgar Schulte, Eiichi Matsubara and Alvaro Mello.
The future CIOs will manage a blend of people and smart machines.
“Smart machines will perform specific tasks, and CIOs will have to balance humans and machines within the workforce.”
They will also oversee vastly different business processes. Today, most CIOs lead business process re-engineering where technology enables new ways of working.
Set up quarterly conversations with your CEO so that the CIO role can evolve along with enterprise strategy
“By 2030, CIOs will oversee an organisation that constantly tests and refines hypotheses about new sources of business value or operating models,” they state. “Fail-fast experimentation will become as important as carefully engineered systems and industrial scale.”
They cite ways CIOs can prepare for these new responsibilities.
One is to partner with the CEO to better align the role with business strategies, they advise. “Set up quarterly conversations so that the CIO role can evolve along with enterprise strategy.”
CIOs can also start working with the head of HR on a long-term plan to acquire skills needed for digital business. They can both track the market for these skills as well as advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning and algorithms “to create a hybrid digital workforce when feasible”.
CIOs can also expand their professional networks to include broadly empowered “digital” CIOs and learn from their evolving relationships with their executive peers.
CIOs must step out of their comfort zone of just managing IT operations, they point out.
If not, they “may miss the opportunity for an executive role and career development provided by the digital era and find themselves confined to a technology leadership role where exciting new responsibilities connected to digital are taken up by other executives.”
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