WSJ – CIO Role Not Keeping Pace With Technology

From the WSJ 5/28/15

 CIO Role Not Keeping Pace With Technology

“Good Morning. Every year, CIO Journal Columnist Thomas H. Davenport asks his MBA students if they aspire to be CIOs. For the past several years, not one has raised a hand. “I may sound like a dinosaur, but I can remember when there was no better job in the world of information technology,” he writes in CIO Journal. What happened?

The cooling system of an IBM z13 mainframe server
Morris Mac Matzen/Reuters

Mr. Davenport, an analytics, processes and automation authority, who named data scientists “sexy“ in a 2012 Harvard Business Review essay, argues that the CIO role has not kept pace with technology in the business. While there are now more technology-oriented officers than ever, CIOs remain stuck with the “less-than-sexy activities,” such as operating and maintaining business systems, keeping the cloud running and “taking the heat when something breaks.”

To be sure, not every infrastructure function applies to his categorization—see what the World Bank Group is doing to rebuild IT infrastructure faster and safer in war zones and natural disasters—and many CIOs have been able to break the mold. Spending more effort on growing the business rather than simply running it and taking responsibility for digital and data-oriented products can do wonders to change perceptions. “If CIOs can create products and services that make money, they’ll be immediately more popular,” he writes. What do you think it will take for Mr. Davenport’s students to dream of being a CIO?