The rise and rise of the CIO, from IT provider to vision enabler

IBM has been watching CIOs. And since 2009, they have watched them grow in stature. Now most have a real voice in the ‘C-Suite,’ want to be the enabler of business strategy and almost 60 percent of them realize that their focus over the next couple of years will be customer experience. This is according to IBM’s Business Value survey of over 4,000 CXOs, across the globe and across (20) industries. The survey includes 1,600 or so CIOs and they provide a considerable focus for the report.

The new role of the CIO is encapsulated by Rafael Corvalan, CIO at Tamedia, Switzerland, when he says he wants to see, “the IT function recognized as a partner, not a service provider, and help it evolve to gain the trust of the business.”

This resonates with the attendees at the recent ETIS Billing and Revenue Management meeting who see IT transforming itself into an IT factory that provides a ‘playground for the business.’ This, presumably, with the influence of the modern CIO.

CIOs have gone from providers of basic IT services and operations and industry specific solutions to critical enablers of business vision and facilitators of process efficiency. Indeed, the CIO’s new mission in life seems to be the pursuit of a better customer experience – perhaps they are the CXO with their eyes on the prize – who are willing to chase this goal. They are certainly investing heavily in new ways of connecting with customers and their attention on customer experience is up 15 percent in the last year. As an aside they are also investing more in cloud solutions, in order to provide them with the adaptability to address this nebulous but ultimately golden opportunity. As well as almost doubling the attention on cloud solutions, they are turning their attention to analytics – where 80 percent of respondents have already spent money – and mobility solutions, where for most industries, the rubber, as they say, truly meets the road.

The rise and rise of the CIO is referred to in the report as them changing into mini CEOs. This is interesting because it is exactly what every manager needs to think like to get things changed. Several successful change managers in the telecoms world have only really succeeded because they have behaved like mini CEOs. This does not mean spending your life barking orders and going out to lunch but providing leadership and inspiration for your team.

One quality a CIO must have is to be able to anticipate the needs of the business. CIOs from industries other than telecoms are focusing on mobile and new technology to connect with their customers. This, they know, is the way to succeed. Mobile and technology is not even their core business, and yet in an increasing number of cases, CIO driven initiatives from other industries are showing us the way to deliver that better customer experience.


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About Alex Leslie 400 Articles
Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet.

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