Why the CIO function will have to be filled by someone in every organisation with the advent of cloud computing.
What do I mean by that? Isn’t a CIO a creature that only inhabits the boardrooms of the biggest organisations? I’d say not. The CIO is the person in the company that is responsible for matching the information to the technology. The person that focuses on what it is that the business delivers and implements the most appropriate and innovative technology to enhance it. This can be the IT Director, the Finance Director, the Managing Director, or anyone with an understanding of the commercial and technological issues and the clout to get things done.
The growth of Cloud Computing is challenging every idea we have about IT delivery in organisations. Quick-thinking departments are procuring their own software, for short- and long-term use, without any reference to the IT function. Whilst this has risks, it brings a phenomenal new dynamism, freeing groups and teams to select the right tool for their job.
For example, when the brand development team are asked to find a name for a new toothpaste, one that works right around the world, one that doesn’t translate to ‘clean’ in Hindustani and ‘dung’ in Portuguese, the project leader could visit http://basecamphq.com/ and buy the Basecamp software for users around the world, get everyone collaborating one the project for as long as it lasts, and when the brand is delivered she just turns Basecamp off.
Amazing. How does the project leader learn about Basecamp? Importantly, how does she know that they’re not in financial trouble, and that two-thirds of the way into this keystone project they’re not going to go bust and the software become unavailable along with all the data? That’s the CIO’s role. To make sure the newest, best tools are available to the business, and that they’re solid, reliable platforms. As more software moves to the cloud, there might be very little IT infrastructure in the organisation - but that role remains key.
The future of Cloud Computing is by no means certain, but it’s inexorable. The CIO function, whether officially defined or not, will become the key IT position in the organisation, and those businesses that define and appoint this position while the market is developing will take the biggest advantages from Cloud.