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October - 2008 - issue > Cover Feature
The State of the CIO
Jayakishore Bayadi
Monday, November 3, 2008
The role of a CIO in an organization has changed from technical to business. Today, a CIO not just manages the IT, but also plays instrumental role in the setting up of business strategy of the organization. He talks more business and less technology. For some, there is no separation between IT and business and for others, a gulf, wide and deep, undercuts their ability to do, or even define, their jobs. Undoubtedly, a Chief Information Officer today is becoming Chief Integration Officer.

They agree that the new world is difficult to navigate. Despite bringing creativity and new revenues to their businesses, they are being rewarded with new responsibilities in operations. In fact, CIOs today not only have to manage the current technology, but they must predict, project and plan for future evolutions.

We at Siliconindia spoke to five CIOs in light of our CIO special issue, on their changing roles and on some of the emerging technologies they are keenly watching and how these technologies will impact their businesses. Interestingly, one of them said that the CIOs, especially of Indian origin, are expanding their roles beyond just off shoring of IT. They are playing prime role by assuming the leadership positions in the segments like business process outsourcing, off shoring of engineering functions, finance, HR and many more to achieve cost effectiveness by taking advantage of their familiarity and comfort level with these. With ‘Innovation’ becoming prime objective of the CIO, he instigates the spark of innovation among the employees of the corporation.

Despite all these, it is no secret that organizations struggle with decisions about technology investments. Though technologies like Virtualization, Green computing, SOA, SaaS and others have made many successful in achieving cost effectiveness, still several have difficulty aligning IT spending with business goals, especially in tough economical times. “It’s hard for anyone to make an informed decision when many variables are in flux and even harder when there’s a dearth of decision-support tools,” says a CIO. We think year 2009 will be the real testing time for CIOs.
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