The Role of the CIO in an IT Factory

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Ten Emerging 2011 Trends IT Organizations Need to Master

IT executives need to make sure their organizations are on top of these trends.

Many chief information officers are really CIOs in name only. Far too many of them spend most of their time managing infrastructure rather than actual business information. In effect, the CIO is really the chief "infrastructure" officer.

Slowly but surely, the IT times are changing. In fact, the folks at the IT and business consulting firm Deloitte Consulting LLP have come up with 10 disruptive and emerging trends that IT organizations of all sizes need to get in front of if they hope to ultimately be successful.

Deloitte CTO Mark White says that while CIOs have spent the last several years striving to get a seat at the senior leadership table, opportunities to now sit at the head of that table are starting to present themselves as businesses become more dependent on digital technologies to manage their business operations. In effect, many businesses are becoming an "IT factory" where just like a real-world factory, there is a pressing need for automation.

But for that to happen, IT organizations will need to address some fundamental issues, ranging from putting a real data and information management strategy in place, to mastering all the nuances of cloud computing.

White says that the good news is that many IT organizations, as a byproduct of the amount of time and energy they have spent on master data management platforms, are actually in much better shape than most realize. The challenge now, says White, is to automate the flow of information across the enterprise as part of an effort to build, for example, next-generation predictive analytics applications that turn all the data strewn across the enterprise into a true business asset.

Two key technology trends that are critical to enabling this, adds White, are cloud computing services and mobile computing devices that serve to make business information more accessible than ever. In the case of cloud computing, IT organizations can now, more cost effectively, experiment with developing new applications while a new generation of workers expects to leverage mobile computing devices to dynamically share information regardless of where that data resides or who actually created it.

The end goal is to automate as much information management as possible so that business processes and the data that drives them can be easily manipulated. To make this happen, many CIOs will have to fundamentally re-examine how they actually add value to the business by managing the IT factory as opposed to simply maintaining the equipment used to build the factory.