Four ways that cloud computing changes the role of the CIO

Deloitte on Cloud Blog

Are you a CIO? Not only do you have a tough job, you also have a job that will likely change a great deal over the next five years.

August 2, 2018

A blog post by David Linthicum, managing director, chief cloud strategy officer, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Emerging technology is responsible for much of the change. In this case, cloud computing. The CIO needs to morph his or her roles and responsibilities to effectively address the different consumption model, as well as new demands from the departments. Here are four ways that cloud computing is already changing the role of the typical CIO:

Technology brokers. Once there was a technology buyer. With the introduction of cloud computing, more and more CIOs are being placed on the front lines of technology and cloud services brokerage.

What does that mean? Instead of buying technology directly and managing it for the departments, someone brokers the technology using predefined deals to get the right cloud services to those who need them. The CIO should have an intimate understanding of those deals if not outright responsibility for them because those contracts can make or break a business.

Distributed. What, you have more than one CIO? That’s becoming the norm. As businesses look to be more agile, and leverage technology as a force multiplier, it often makes sense to have many CIOs, perhaps one for each line-of-business. This means a single CIO can focus on a single line of business, provide direct support to that business, and be a champion for that line-of-business to the larger IT organization.

Cloud’s role in this shift can be traced to the “shadow IT” of a few years ago when departments leveraged cloud computing to bypass IT. With today’s CIO working at the department level, the departments leverage cloud in much the same way, but IT drives the use of cloud computing.

Need for speed. It goes without saying that CIOs must work faster. The days of taking years to get applications up-and-running are long over. Cloud computing is leveraged as a way to drive more efficiency and to provide better time-to-market speed since organizations are not dependent upon waves of hardware and software purchases.

Profit centers. So, IT is a cost center, not a profit center? This is not true for many organizations. IT now provides strategic technology that can directly increase the profitability of the business.

By leveraging cloud computing, CIOs can enable corporations to “punch above their weight class” by providing technology as a force multiplier in disrupting their respective markets. The business can leverage cloud computing technology as a strategic differentiator or disrupter.

The new roles of the CIO are very different from the old roles. While a typical CIO was once in charge of tactical portions of the business, their role today is much more strategic and important. You can certainly thank the arrival of cloud computing technology for that shift. It’s a morphing of the business that’s been long overdue.

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