With Chief Data, Tech Execs, Will Companies Still Need a CIO?

Susan Hall

There’s no doubt that CIOs’ jobs are becoming more complicated all the time, and plenty of folks want to tell them what they should be doing.

Gartner analyst Douglas Laney, however, recently told the Gartner Business Intelligence & Information Management Summit in Sydney that with more companies naming chief data officers to manage the company’s information and apply it to business, the CIO’s role could be in jeopardy, reports ZDNet. With a chief technology officer to focus on tech and a chief data officer focused on information, what exactly would be the CIO’s role?

The article quotes Laney as saying:


"Most CIOs are so much consumed with technology that they have forgotten their title has 'information' in it. They are very much fixated on the technology side of things."

Out of the 300 global companies surveyed by Gartner, though, only about 2 percent had a chief data officer, whose job basically is governance, accountability, and finding business opportunities in the data.

Futurist David Houle recently told my colleague Don Tennant that within three years he expects all Fortune 500 companies will have a chief data officer or chief data engineer.

Fellow blogger Mike Vizard cites John Lucker, a principal with Deloitte, saying that to make a business case for a CDO, IT organizations need to have a real information management strategy in place that starts with the data and includes the packaged applications along with the custom advanced analytics needed to give the business insights that will ultimately provide business advantages over rivals. Lucker also said that could bring about some changes in the organization’s structure.

Gartner’s Laney said that in the future companies will be split into three units: business, technology and information. He said that depending on the size of the company, the CIO role might survive as the head of both technology and information.

That sounds an awful lot like the "Reincarnate CIO" that HCL Technologies has been talking about for the past few years – one that harnesses technology and information to find new business opportunities.

Meanwhile, for a better look at what this information unit might look like, Forrester’s Boris Evelson, in this post at Information Management, provides a job description for a senior BI architect/manager/executive who might report to the CIO or CDO – or even CFO (but that’s another story).



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