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Leadership

Strategies, advice and opinions helping to define and develop the role of IT leaders and their staffs.

In search of the future CIO

More than any other C-suite executive, CIOs are given to collective self-examination and tireless speculation on the future of their profession. That’s not surprising given the fact that CIOs are relative C-suite newbies, and in many companies, even in today’s digital world, are still not accorded equal standing with their executive peers.

Since IT managers began morphing into CIOs in the 1990s, the role of the CIO has been a moving target, affected by the rapid pace of technology change, huge shifts to the IT service provider market, varying trends in the corporate view of IT, and increasingly demanding communities of customers and end-users. Little wonder that even some of the best CIOs have had difficulty coming anywhere close to hitting the bull’s eye of this moving target.

The result of this ongoing uncertainty around the profession is the frequent tabling of theories and models around the future of the CIO. One such model was put forward at the Gartner Symposium in Barcelona earlier this month by Gartner VP and analyst John Mahoney. He identified four dominant futures for IT in the organization.

IT as a Global Service Provider

IT is an expanded and integrated shared-service unit that runs like a business, delivering IT services and enterprise business processes. Virtually or fully centralized, it focuses on business areas and business value, adopts a marketing perspective, capitalizes on its internal position and delivers competitive services.

IT as the Engine Room

IT capabilities are delivered rapidly at competitive prices. The IT org succeeds by monitoring technology and market developments, and building expertise in IT asset optimization, sourcing and vendor management. It delivers ongoing cost improvements and is highly responsive to changing business needs.

IT "is" the Business

In this scenario information is the business's explicit product, or at least is inseparable from its product. The business is structured around information flow (not process or function) and the IT org innovates within the value chain, rather than just enabling the supporting services found in every business.

Everyone's IT

Business leaders and individuals use IT aggressively to break through traditional business perimeters and drive ambitious collaboration. The focus is on information rather than technology. Highly mature businesses embrace this model for its collaborative and innovative potential. It works in non-traditional situations such as dynamic businesses, startups, and R&D and entrepreneurial ventures.

Mahoney outlined four futures for the CIO role, based on the above scenarios. In “IT as a Global Service Provider”, the CIO will be an externally focused “Integrator and Optimizer”; in “IT as the Engine Room”, the CIO will be an internally focused “Broker and Engineer”; in “IT is the Business”, the CIO will be an externally focused “Explorer and Pioneer”; and in “Everyone’s IT”, the CIO will be an internally focused “Enabler and Conductor”.

He acknowledged that this is a simplification of a very complex situation, with most IT organizations engaged in two or more of these scenarios.

Perhaps Mahoney’s model will add clarity to some CIOs’ thinking around what they are doing with their IT organization and where they should be planning to go. If it serves that purpose, I applaud the effort.

In my view, the model simply provides a different lens through which to view IT management approaches that CIOs are already pretty familiar with. I don’t see a lot that is new or operationally compelling in the model, and I doubt if it will influence the actions of the large majority of CIOs.

There’s an inherent problem with ‘big thinking’ around the future of the CIO: because it’s ‘big’ it tends to be divorced from the day to day realities of the CIO in the trenches. Not to say that CIOs aren’t thinking about the future state of their IT organizations and their profession – they’re too smart to not to be thinking about them. But for most, the path to future success will not be appreciably influenced by any specific management model or theory. These will simply take their place among the great host of influences that the CIO must synthesize and incorporate into his or her own approach to IT management.

And of equal or greater weight than those influences will be the CIO’s own hard-won on-the-job insights, coupled with the insights of CIO peers. And let’s not forget the biggest influence of all: good old fashioned gut instinct.

Still, such models have their place, if only to stimulate thinking creative thinking around the CIO role, unencumbered by the myriad day-to-day concerns of running the IT organization.

So for those of you who find such models appetizing food for thought, take a look at “Chuck’s Blog” for an interesting follow up on the “four futures” model. The Chuck in question is Chuck Hollis, VP – Global Marketing CTO, EMC Corp.

 

Past Attendees


ADP - VP Architecture & Infrastructure

AESO - VP, Information Technology

Agnico Eagle Mines - VP, IT

Agrium - Global Mgr., IT Security

Agrium - Senior Director IT Shared Services

Aimia - SVP & Global CIO

Ainsworth Engineered - Director IT

Air Canada Vacations - Director IT

Alberta Energy Regulator - Director, Office of the CIO

Anthem Properties - VP IS

AON Risk Solutions Canada - Head of IT

Aviva Canada - VP, Architecture & Strategy

Bank of America Merrill Lynch - CTO

BC Ferry Services - VP & CIO

Bellatrix Exploration - Director, Information Technology

Bentall Kennedy - VP IT

Black Press - CTO

BlackBerry - VP Corporate IT

BMO Financial Group - Head of Services Delivery

Bombardier Aerospace - CISO

Bonavista Petroleum - Head of IT

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP - Global CIO

Bow Valley College - Director, IT Services

Bridgewater Bank - Head of IT

BuildDirect - VP IT

Bulk Barn - Head, IT

Burnco - CIO

Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec - VP, IT Planning, Architecture, Governance, Operations

Calfrac Well Services - Head of IT

Canada Mortgage and Housing - VP, Information & Technology

Canadian Depository for Securities - CIO

Canadian Direct Insurance - CTO

Canadian Payments Association - VP & CIO

Canucks Sports - Head of IT

Cardel Homes - VP MIS

Cargojet - CIO

CCS Corp. - VP IT

Centerra Gold - Director IT & Comm

CIBC - Senior Director, Infrastructure Planning & Engineering

CIBC - SVP & CIO, Retail and Business Banking Technology

CIBC Mellon - AVP, Enterprise Architecture

CIBC Mellon - SVP & CIO

Cineplex Entertainment - CTO

City of Brampton - Senior Manager, IT Architecture & Planning

City of Toronto - Director of Strategic Planning & Architecture

CN Rail Service - Chief Information Security Officer

Coast Capital Savings - VP Technology

Concordia University - AVP & CIO

Crescent Point Energy - Head of IT

Dairy Farmers of Ontario - Head of IT and Administration

Dale Parizeau Morris Mackenzie - VP, IT

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP - Director, Information Technology

DealerTrack Canada - Director, Technology

Defence Construction Canada - Corporate Manager, IT

Dentons - Canada CIO

Devon Energy - Director, Integrated Business Services

Direct Cash - VP IT & Security

Dynamic Tire Corp - CIO

eHealth Ontario - VP, IT Systems & Services

Encana - Director, InfoSec

Enerflex - CIO

Enerplus - VP. IS

ENMAX - VP, IT & PMO

Essential Energy Services - Director, IT

Expedia Cruise Ship Centers - VP IS

FGL Sports - VP, Information Technology

Fix Auto Canada - COO & SVP

Flightnetwork.com - CIO

FT Services - CIO

FundServ - CIO

Genus Capital Management - CTO

Genworth Financial Inc. - VP IT

Golder Associates - CTO

Gran Tierra Energy - Director IT

Grant Thornton LLP - CIO

Greenwin Inc - VP, Information Technology

Groupe Dynamite - Director, IT

GSK Canada - IT Director

GTAA - Acting CIO

H&R Block Canada - VP IT

Hewitt Equipment Ltd. - VP & CIO

Hitachi - CTO, Americas

Home Trust Company - CIO

Home Trust Company - CTO

Home Trust Company - VP & CISO

Horizon North Logistics - CIO

Indigo Books and Music - CIO

ivari - SVP & CIO

JP Morgan Chase Canada - Executive Director, Information Risk Management

Keyera Energy - Director, Information Technology

KnowledgeOne - CIO

LaFarge Canada - Director, IT

Landmark Cinemas Canada - VP, IT

LCBO - Director, Applications Systems

LCBO - SVP & CIO

Leisureworld Senior Care Corp - VP IS

Lightstream Resources - Head, Information Services

London Drugs - GM IT

Loto-Quebec - Corporate Director, InfoSec

Magna International Inc - VP & Global Leader, IT (CIO)

March Networks - VP Professional Services & CIO

McCain Foods Limited - Manager InfoSec

McInnis Cement - Director of Information Technology

Medical Pharmacies Group - VP, Information Technology

MEG Energy - Manager, Information Technology Solutions & Services

MMM Group - CIO

Montreal Police Service - CIO

Morguard Investments - CIO

Moulding & Millwork - CIO

National Bank of Canada - Information Security Officer

National Capital Commission - Chief, IT infrastructure & Support Services

NHL Players' Association - Head, Security & Technology

Northbridge Financial Corp - CIO

OEC Group Canada - Vice President, Information Technology and Client solutions

Oildex - VP, Architecture & Infrastructure

Olympia Financial Group - CIO

OMERS - SVP IT

Ontario Pension Board - CTO

Ontario Trillium Foundation - CIO

Ottawa Police Service - CIO

Pacific Western Transportation - CIO

Packers Plus - Global IT Director

Patient News - CTO

Peel District School Board - CIO

Pengrowth Corp - Director IS

Penn West Exploration - Snr. Manager, IT Operations

Peterson Investment Group - Head of IT

PFB Corp. - CIO

Pizza Pizza - CIO & VP, IT

Precision Drilling - VP, IT

Precision Drilling - Director, IT Infrastructure & Security

PSP Investments - Snr. Director, Internal Audit & Business Infosec

Public Works and Government Services Canada - Director, IT Security Directorate

PwC - Managing Director, Real Estate Technology Advisory

Qantas - Global CIO

Queen's University - Director, Information Technology

RBC Royal Bank - Head of Application Security, Data Protection & Security Consulting

Regal Lifestyle Communities - CIO

Revera Inc. - CIO

Revera Inc. - Security Architect

Ricoh Canada - VP,IT

RioCan Property Services - VP IT

Rogers Communications - SVP, Customer Experience IT

ROM - CIO

Russel Metals - VP,IS

Scotiabank - VP - International Systems Technology

Scotiabank - Director, Architecture & Engineering

Sears Canada - Divisional VP, Information Technology Services

Secure Energy Services - GM, IT

Shaw Communications - VP, Technology Operations

Shaw Communications - Director, Risk Management

SMART Technologies - Director, IS Corporate Services

Smartcentres - Director IS, IT

Societe de Transport de Montreal - Division Head - Security and Compliance

Street Capital Financial - CIO

Sun Life Financial - AVP, Data & Business Intelligence Services

Sun Life Financial - VP Application Ops & Services

Suncor Energy Inc. - Director, Application Portfolio Optimization, I&PM, Business Services

Symcor - CTO, VP Technology Services

Talisman Energy - SVP IT & Business Services

TD Bank - Enterprise Architect

Teknion - SVP, CIO

TELUS - Chief Security Architect

Tervita Corporation - VP, Information Technology

The Hudsons Bay Company - VP Technology

The Hudson's Bay Company - SVP & CIO

The Source - VP, Information Technology

TMX Group - VP, CISO

Toromont Industries - VP & CIO

Toronto District School Board - Chief Technology Officer

Toronto Hospital for Sick Children - Director of Technology

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) - Chief Enterprise Architect

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) - CIO

Toyota Canada - National Manager, IS

Transamerica Life Canada - CIO

Trican Well Services Ltd. - Director, Business Information Systems

Tridel Corporation - CIO

Trillium Health Partners - IT Director, Applications & Clinical Informatics

UFA Cooperative - VP & CIO

University of Calgary - Executive Director, Development Services

University of Ottawa - CIO

University of Ottawa - Senior Director IT Services & Infrastructure

University of Waterloo - Director, Technology Entrepreneurship

Vancity - VP Technology & Solutions

Viterra - Director Enterprise Technology

World Health - Director IT

Yellow Pages Group - Director - Enterprise Data Management

York Region District School Board - CIO

Leadership Archive