Do IT Leaders Need to Know Technology?
Predicting the future is one of the more fun—and, well, futile—things to do, particularly when it comes to technology.
In the past few weeks, I've been speaking with a number of prominent IT thinkers and experts about what IT organizations will look like in 2015. Last week, Eric Sigurdson, head of the information officers practice at executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates, spoke with me about the changing role of technology, the CIO and the IT organization.
"Seven or eight years from now, one of two things will happen: you'll either see CIOs become more business oriented, or you'll see IT become such a fabric of business that business leaders become more tech competent."
The idea of CIOs becoming more business oriented is one that probably makes most business executives salivate. And plenty of IT leaders out there have shown their strategic and business prowess—just look at how many of them have expanded their portfolios or moved up the corporate ladder.
But it also brings up a growing trend of non-IT operatives taking on the CIO role. Certainly tech know-how is an integral part of the job, but is it becoming less of a criterion in the eyes of the executives that hire CIOs?
Not a new idea, at his own admission, but one that simply hasn't worked yet. And that's scary, given all the talk about how business savvy CIOs are (or aren't). But he's got a point.
Sigurdson also spoke about a generational shift, where a new era of executives raised on technology will weave more of it into their plans. (Witness FedEx CIO Rob Carter, who explained how his team helps executives get a better grip on technology by literally putting more of it in their hands.)
Also on this topic: Barry Brunsman discusses how the rise of IT services gives IT organizations a new way to measure their own value.
So, where do you think IT orgs are headed? What will they look like, and function like, in 2015?